Monday, June 9, 2014

Problem Solving In Math

 I found this quote from Howard County Public Schools wiki space in regard to problem solving:

Problem solving is not an isolated activity. It doesn't occur every Friday. Instead problem solving is a skill that favors every mathematics lesson. Problem solving is more than just one-step word problems. Problem solving should feature risk tasks, authentic purposes, and multiple ways to be solved.

I completely agree. 

Each day students should be posed with critical thinking. Students should be challenged to think "out of the box". Students should be guided through questioning and class discussion. Problem solving should not only occur in Math class, but it should also involve life matters (which all teachers do each day). These life skills not only foster and promote critical thinking, but they also teach students independence, patience, tolerance, courage, collaboration, discovery, exploration, and so much more. 

However, Math opens a door to problem solving. Therefore, problem-solving strategies are established and used in Math classroom quite often. In the past, I have used a method with the acronym R.O.P.E.S.
R=Read the problem
O=Omit the unnecessary items by marking them out
E=Effectively solve the problem
S=Study your solution (check your work)
This past school year, however, I used the  UPScheck method because this is what our Math series uses. I like the method. As the year has progressed, the students and I have added hints for each step. I love it! It is simple and easy to use.

The above picture shows our anchor chart. It started out:

Understand-What is the problem asking?
Plan-Decide on the problem-solving strategy you will use.
Solve-Solve the problem. Show your thinking. PROVE IT!
Check-Does your answer make sense? Is is reasonable? Do you have proof? If a word problemDid you find the solution to the question(s)?

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