Laura Candler's Math Problem Solving page is where you'll find great resources for teaching problem solving as well as a variety of math problem activity pages. Be sure to watch the free webinar recording, Math Problem Solving - Once a Day, the Easy Way!
Many of the items on this page are free and do not come with directions. For complete problem solving lessons, check out the Daily Math Puzzlers, a series of four leveled books that include information on how to teach problem solving as well as mixed-problem activity pages for students.
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Each of the pages below is a free sample from one of the Daily Math Puzzler ebooks.
Use the simple pretests in this ebook to learn how skilled your students are at solving problems and where to start them in the Daily Math Puzzler program. Even if you don't use the Daily Math Puzzler program, you'll gain valuable insights as to HOW your students attack word problems and solve them. Click the link or cover image to sign up for this free set of leveled problem solving assessments. After you submit your requests, go to you inbox and look for the email with the freebie. You'll see links to the American version shown here and the International version.
Recharge & Write is a terrific cooperative learning strategy that gets kids talking about math problems but holds them accountable for understanding how to solve each problem. I recorded a short video to explain how it works, and I provided even more detail my blog post, How to Recharge Mathematical Thinking.
Math Buddy Chat is a step-by-step problem solving activity for math partners. I explained this strategy fully in my webinar, Math Problem Solving - Once a Day, The Easy Way. I presented this webinar several years ago, so it's not a high-quality recording, but it does have a lot of useful information and strategies. (I plan to present an updated version of the webinar live in October using software that's more advanced. If you'd like to be notified about that session, sign up for my email list email list.)
One difficulty that teachers commonly face when students work in pairs is that one person does all the work while the other watches passively. With Math Buddy Chat, students alternate between working independently and working together as they solve each problem.
How to Get the Free PowerPoint
To make this activity really easy to implement, I created a PowerPoint that you can download and show to your students as you walk them through this problem-solving method. After you download your copy of Math Buddy Chat PowerPoint and unzip the file, please watch the webinar because to understand how, when, and why you would use this activity. You'll be amazed at how effective this method is for teaching students how to solve a math word problem!
These worksheets are designed to be sent home once a week for students to attempt to do on their own. My students were allowed to get help but the drawings and explanations had to be in their own words and they had to be able to explain their solutions if called on in class. I'm working on creating a complete collection of Weekly Math Challenge problems, but for now you can give these a try!
The Common Core State Standards include eight mathematical practices that should be included as a regular part of math instruction. I created the chart shown on the right that you can use as you plan instruction to ensure that you are meeting these standards throughout the week.
What to do the standards mean?
The NC Department of Public instruction has created a set of documents for grade level called "Unpacking the Standards." These documents are a goldmine of information and strategies for teachers! One extremely helpful part of each document is the chart of Mathematical Practices that specifies how those standards look at that particular grade level. The Standards for Mathematical Practice can be found near the beginning of each document below: