Each school year we start with a new group of students and with that new crew we start fresh with working on problem solving in our math classes. I don’t know about you but over the summer it seems as if most of my students always forgot what they had learned about solving problems from the prior years so it was like starting with a clean slate.
The importance of teaching problem solving to our students stems from the fact that to truly learn mathematics we must teach more than how to memorize facts and algorithms. We as a teacher have to teach our students to think mathematically. Beyond the mathematical thinking students are able to develop mathematical reasoning and then apply that reasoning to computation and concepts to solve math problems. Taking time to make our students proficient in problem solving will allow them to stick with it when the problems seem hard.
With the new Mathematical Practice Standards in the TEKS and Common Core we are specifically given skills to make sure our students understand. These skills should be integrated daily into our math lessons and that is where I want to take time to help you. Over the next few weeks I will go through each of the standards and help you break them down for your classroom.
Practical Problem Solving
Week 1- Why is It Important?
Week 2- Communicating Mathematical Ideas
Week 3- Analyzing Relationships in Math
Week 4- Selecting the Tools to Solve Problems
When it comes down to it, our students become problem solvers by solving problems. How are you implementing problem solving every day in your classroom? How are you providing feedback to your students? My goal over the next few posts is to help provide you tips and trick to implement problem solving in different ways, I not only want to help with tips and trick but I also want to help you give immediate feedback to your students to provide an effective learning environment for you problem solvers. When we provide immediate feedback our students take ownership of their learning and it brings their understanding to a higher level of understanding.