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
Recommended For You
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...
For working with schools on identifing the strategies that are already in place to support effective problem-solving instruction and determine what additional steps could be taken to strengthen...
This tool shows alignment with Common Core State Standards, for planning professional development.
Elementary math coaches in the Papillion-La Vista School District use a lesson pre-conference planning form with teachers. Coaches work with teachers to consider goals and students’ experience and...
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...
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...