Teaching Problem Solving Skills

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The question becomes: How do students learn to use the steps? All it requires is that as they play and think about what they're doing: This is how students become the problem solvers required of their future.

Certainly, as they accomplish their grade-level math curriculum, you as teacher remind them they aren't doing a multiplication problem (or an algebra one); rather they're reasoning abstractly or using appropriate tools strategically, or expressing regularity in repeated reasoning. You'll be surprised how much you know on a variety of topics. Future employers and schools want you to think, to use your intelligence and your knowledge to evaluate and solve problems. What advice do knowledgeable friends have (perspective taking, collaboration)? Your friends will think whatever they own is the best, because they're vested in that choice, but listen to their evidence and the conclusions they draw based on that. When they solve a problem that affects the direction their life takes (college, career, marriage, children, a tattoo), they'll be happy to have strategies that make it easier.

How about deciding what classes to take in Middle School? Just make sure you are aware of how you made the choice and are satisfied with it. What are the risks involved in making the decision (reflection)? Make a decision (transfer learning) and live with it knowing you've considered all available information and evaluated it logically and objectively.

Or whether to make a soccer or basketball game on the weekend? Using these eight tools strategically, with precision and tenaciously, is a great first step. Maybe buying an MP3 player means you can't do something else you wanted. Optionally, you might have students evaluate problem solving in their favorite game, say, Minecraft.

For some reason, once math gets translated into reading, even my best readers start to panic.

There is just something about word problems, or problem-solving, that causes children to think they don’t know how to complete them. I put together a problem-solving unit that would focus a bit more on strategies and steps in hopes that that would create problem-solving stars.We want risk-takers, those willing to be the load-bearing pillar of the class.And truthfully, by a certain age, kids want to make up their own mind.Whether they're writing, reading, or creating an art project, I want them thinking about what they're doing and why.The Common Core State Standards put problem solving front and center.Should they purchase an i Pod, a smartphone, a dedicated-use MP3 player, or a different option? Ask students to work through the steps below as they address a decision. She is webmaster for six blogs, CSG Master Teacher, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer, Editorial Review Board member for Journal for Computing Teachers, a columnist for Examiner.com, IMS tech expert, and a weekly contributor to Teach HUB.Ask them to note where they accomplish one or more of the Standards for Mathematical Practice, outlined above: 1. Should it play music, show videos, pictures, communicate with others, be a phone also? Currently, she’s editing a techno-thriller that should be out to publishers next summer.Once I felt the students had it down, we practiced it in a game of problem-solving relay. We talked about how this was where we were going to choose which strategy we were going to use.Students raced one another to see how quickly they could get down to the nitty-gritty of the word problems. We also discussed how this was where we were going to figure out what operation to use. (I actually went ahead and solved it here – which is the next step, too.) We talked specifically about thinking strategies.Our job as teachers is to provide the skills necessary for them to make wise, effective decisions. It starts with a habit of inquiry in all classes -- math, language arts, history, science, any of them.I constantly ask students questions, get them to think and evaluate, provide evidence that supports process as well as product.


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