Creative thinking in mathematics curriculum: An analytic framework

Linor L. Hadar, Mor Tirosh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Current approaches in mathematics education promote the teaching of creative thinking (CT) to develop a deep conceptual understanding of mathematics, and many nations are including explicit CT learning goals in their curriculum. The goals alone are not enough; appropriate curriculum materials should be used in the classroom if students are to acquire CT skills. This paper describes the development of a framework to analyze CT in primary school mathematics curriculum materials. It then applies the framework to primary school math textbooks in the context of the Israeli curriculum. The framework includes nine categories under three overarching themes: lateral thinking, divergent thinking and convergent-integrative thinking. Although the CT themes are covered, the textbooks provide much more opportunity to engage with CT in mathematics in grade one than in any other grade, but the curriculum sets the same CT objectives for all students. Further, the textbooks have emphases that do not necessarily correspond with the emphasis in the official curriculum. The proposed framework permits the assessment of curriculum materials, an important mediating factor between curriculum and instruction. It can show which activities and materials promote the development of students’ CT and which do not.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100585
JournalThinking Skills and Creativity
StatePublished - Sep 2019
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 Elsevier Ltd


  • Creative thinking
  • Curriculum materials
  • Mathematics
  • Textbooks

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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