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.

  • Items 1 - 12 of 47

Sort by:

Debriefing Student Solutions

Teachers can use this tool as a guide to help them remember prompts and strategies that extend students’ thinking about problem solving while they debrief different approaches to solving a...

Tool
Document
03/05/2014
666 views

Learning Together About Monitoring and Debriefing

With this workshop, professional development providers can help teachers practice facilitating their students’ monitoring of their thinking during problem solving and verbalizing alternative ways...

Tool
Document
03/05/2014
636 views

Observing Students' Understanding of the Problem-Solving Process

Teachers can use this observation tool to monitor students’ understanding of the problem-solving process and determine needs for additional instruction. Related Media: Monitoring the...

Tool
Document
03/05/2014
684 views

Developing Problem-Solving Thinkalouds

This instructional planner helps mathematics coaches and teachers plan how they will demonstrate to students how to reflect on their thinking as they solve problems. The planner helps prepare a...

Tool
Document
03/05/2014
655 views

Tasks and Question Prompts

This sample question list is organized to go along with tasks in problem solving. Teachers can use this list to prepare prompts and to help students monitor and reflect during the problem-solving...

Sample Material
Document
03/05/2014
735 views
Coach Talk: Debriefing in Problem Solving

Coach Talk: Debriefing in Problem Solving

Listen to two mathematics coaches from the Papillion-LaVista School District share the concepts they emphasize when working with teachers, including the importance of comparing multiple approaches...

School Example
Audio
03/05/2014
275 views
Monitoring Progress While Solving Problems

Monitoring Progress While Solving Problems

Dr. Sybilla Beckmann demonstrates how to help students monitor their progress and reflect on their reasoning while solving a challenging problem.

Expert Interview
Video
03/05/2014
333 views

Connecting Visuals to Problem Types

Math coaches and teachers can use this tool as a quick reference for examples of visual representations for different types of problems. See the sample material, Using Visual Representations for...

Tool
Document
03/03/2014
1878 views

Observation Note-Taking: Reflections on Multiple Approaches to Problem Solving

Teachers and mathematics coaches can use this tool to keep track of the approaches to problems used by different pairs and groups of students. The purpose of the tool is to provide a summary of the...

Tool
Document
03/03/2014
610 views

Walk-Throughs: Teaching Problem Solving

Instructional leaders can use this tool to frame observational walk-throughs of elementary and middle school math classes. Related Media and Files: Improving Mathematical Problem Solving...

Tool
Document
03/03/2014
760 views

Learning Together About Using Visuals That Support Problem Solving

Math coaches can use this tool to help elementary and middle school teachers learn about the role of visual representations in problem solving through a series of professional development...

Tool
Document
03/03/2014
757 views

Problems: Connecting Mathematical Ideas to Notation

In the media piece, Connecting Mathematical Ideas to Notation, Dr. Sybilla Beckmann presents two examples of problems showing how students can connect mathematical concepts and notation. This...

Sample Material
Document
03/03/2014
664 views
  • Items 1 - 12 of 47