Teacher resources and professional development across the curriculum

Teacher professional development and classroom resources across the curriculum

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Problem SolvingSession 03 Overviewtab atab bTab ctab dtab eReference
Part C

Defining Problem Solving
  The Problem-Solving Standard | Organizing Data | Draw a Diagram or Make a Model | Organize the Data in a List, Diagram, Table, or Graph | Generate and Eliminate Candidates | Additional Problem-Solving Strategies | Low Threshold, High Ceiling Problems | Summary | Your Journal


Problem solving has been defined as a four-part process: understanding the problem, devising a plan, executing the plan, and reviewing the process. If you only apply a rule that you've learned from someone else, you are missing out on the learning that is possible in the first two parts of that process.

So, how do we help students become better problem solvers? One approach is to provide rich mathematical problems that will be of interest to students. Students need to develop a wide variety of strategies to get their arms around a problem and begin their work. However, problem solving shouldn't be limited to just the application of strategies; whenever possible, it should also include exploring the underlying mathematical concepts. These two elements can strengthen each other: As good problems provide opportunities for students to gain knowledge and develop understanding, they may also build students' skills in using strategies.

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