We want every learner in our care to be able to say

**I can use appropriate tools strategically.**

**(**CCSS.MATH.PRACTICE.MP5**)**

Level 4:

I can communicate details of how the chosen tools added to the solution pathway strategy using descriptive notes, words, pictures, screen shots, etc.

**Level 3:**

**I can use appropriate tools strategically.**

Level 2:

I can use tools to make my thinking visible, and I can experiment with enough tools to display confidence when explaining how I am using the selected tools appropriately and effectively.

Level 1:

I can recognize when a tool such as a protractor, ruler, tiles, patty paper, spreadsheet, computer algebra system, dynamic geometry software, calculator, graph, table, external resources, etc., will be helpful in making sense of a problem.

Suppose you are solving an equation.

Are you practicing **use appropriate tools strategically** if you use the numerical solve command on your graphing calculator?

Or what about using your calculator to substitute values of x until you find a value that makes a true statement?

Are you practicing **use appropriate tools strategically** if you use a computer algebra system to explain your steps?

Or what if you use the graphing capability of your handheld?

Consider each of the following learning goals:

I can explain each step in solving a simple equation as following from the equality of numbers asserted at the previous step, starting from the assumption that the original equation has a solution, and I can construct a viable argument to justify a solution method. CCSS-M A-REI.A.1.

I can solve linear equations and inequalities in one variable, including equations with coefficients represented by letters. CCSS-M A-REI.B.3.

I can explain why the x-coordinates of the points where the graphs of the equations y=f(x) and y=g(x) intersect are the solutions of the equation f(x)=g(x); find the solutions approximately, e.g., using technology to graph the functions, make tables of values, or find successive approximations. CCSS-M A-REI.D.11.

Does **use appropriate tools strategically** depend on the learner? Or the learning goal? Or the teacher? Or the availability of tools?

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[Cross posted on Experiments in Learning by Doing]