The foundation for success in advanced mathematics is built on problem solving skills. Problem solving requires strong skills in reasoning, analysis, and argument construction, and the ability to apply innovative strategies to find a solution. While these skills should be taught at all levels, it's especially important to help students develop them as progress toward the more complex math concepts they will learn in high school.

To help students become skilled problem solvers in grades 4 through 8, teachers can prepare problems to use in whole-class instruction; provide explicit problem-solving instruction that teaches students to use visual representations, employ multiple strategies, and links mathematical concepts and notation to problems; and allow time to reflect and debrief on their strategies and solutions with classmates.

To learn more about the research underlying these practices, view the IES Practice Guide, Improving Mathematical Problem Solving in Grades 4 Through 8.

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Talking Through Problems and Their Solutions

Talking Through Problems and Their Solutions

This multimedia overview describes the basic steps students can learn to monitor their problem-solving process. The tasks and prompts can be used throughout the problem-solving process to encourage...

Overview
Video
02/14/2014
571 views
Multiplication of Fractions

Multiplication of Fractions

Listen to how a teacher considers the problem-solving strategies students use in a multiplication of fractions problem involving part of a part. She describes which strategies she chooses to...

School Example
Video
02/14/2014
693 views
Connecting Mathematical Ideas to Notation

Connecting Mathematical Ideas to Notation

Dr. Sybilla Beckmann uses two different problems to demonstrate how to develop mathematical concepts and present mathematical notation in problem-solving situations. Related...

Expert Interview
Video
02/14/2014
483 views
Non-Routine Problem in Geometry

Non-Routine Problem in Geometry

See how a class approaches "Pre-Algebra Fencing Task," a non-routine geometry problem that challenges their mathematical reasoning. Related Files: Pre-Algebra Fencing Task (Sample...

School Example
Video
02/14/2014
573 views
Representing a Problem Visually

Representing a Problem Visually

See how different groups of students use double number lines and other visuals to tackle "Frank's Problem," which involves figuring out the most efficient travel routes in terms of...

School Example
Video
02/14/2014
603 views
Problem Solving in Pre-Algebra

Problem Solving in Pre-Algebra

Watch as a teacher challenges her students with the real-world problem of a race in Who Finishes When? Visual representations help students think about how the problem can be solved. Solution...

School Example
Video
02/14/2014
579 views
Algebraic Notation in Problem Solving

Algebraic Notation in Problem Solving

Dr. Ken Koedinger provides examples that demonstrate the importance of bringing mathematical notation into the problem-solving process.

Expert Interview
Video
02/14/2014
452 views
Multiple Problem-Solving Strategies in Instruction

Multiple Problem-Solving Strategies in Instruction

Dr. Driscoll explains how use of multiple strategies contributes to student learning by letting students see problems in new ways. He stresses the importance of worked examples and comparing and...

Expert Interview
Video
02/14/2014
510 views
Matching Visuals to Purpose in Problem Solving

Matching Visuals to Purpose in Problem Solving

Dr. Asha Jitendra shows and discusses the role of different types of visualizations in problem solving, especially their usefulness for students struggling with math.

Expert Interview
Video
02/14/2014
731 views
Effective Problem-Solving Instruction

Effective Problem-Solving Instruction

This summary describes a wide range of research-based recommendations for guiding instruction in problem solving. Three important strategies that apply at all grade levels and in all areas of math...

Overview
Video
02/14/2014
968 views

Coaching Checklist for Problem Planning

Instructional leaders and mathematics coaches can use this self-assessment to reflect on their practices in supporting teachers to plan lessons and to guide students in learning to be competent...

Tool
Document
02/14/2014
1139 views

Learning Together About Preparing Problems

Instructional leaders can use this workshop plan to help elementary and middle-grades teachers learn about the importance of preparing problems for use in whole-class instruction. Included is a...

Tool
Document
02/14/2014
763 views
  • Items 25 - 36 of 47