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



One of the most important aspects of doing mathematics is problem solving. Before we examine the elements of problem solving and examples of student problem solving, it is important for us to share an understanding of what these words mean.

It is not the goal of a mathematics class to teach students to solve every type of problem they might encounter. That is impossible. Instead, the teacher's role is to give students opportunities to develop a repertoire of strategies that will help them apply and adapt what they know to solve problems that are new to them. In this way, students become good problem solvers. In this session, we investigate strategies and techniques that will help middle school students learn to pose and solve problems.

Learning Objectives

This session shows how to help students do the following:

  • Explore some fundamental strategies they can use to solve problems
  • Select strategies to use when solving problems
  • Reflect on their work during and after solving a problem in order to analyze their approach and solutions

NCTM Problem-Solving Standard

Instructional programs . . . should enable all students to --

  • Build new mathematical knowledge through problem solving
  • Solve problems that arise in mathematics and in other contexts
  • Apply and adapt a variety of appropriate strategies to solve problems
  • Monitor and reflect on the process of mathematical problem solving

Principles and Standards for School Mathematics (NCTM, 2000).

For more information on this process standard, see the NCTM Web site


begin  Observe a math problem

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