Daily problem solving is an important key to success in math, but implementing this type of program consistently can prove to be challenging. I know, because I tried to incorporate daily problem solving into my many block for many years and couldn’t find a program that worked.
Eventually I decided that if I couldn’t find a program that worked, I would create my own. That year I developed an effective system that was also easy to implement. It only took 10 or 15 minutes a day, and the results were remarkable!
Here’s how it worked. Each Monday, I gave my students a worksheet with four word problems. They solved one problem each day Monday through Thursday, and they had to show how they solved each problem in the space provided. Friday was reserved for discussing the more challenging problems and for more in-depth problem solving lessons. To give the program a little pizzazz, I called the word problems “Daily Math Puzzlers.”
The Daily Math Puzzler program was so effective that I decided to create a resource for teachers with printables, answer keys, and instructions to make it easy to implement.
To see how the Daily Math Puzzler program works, download these two Fall Math Puzzlers to try with your students. This freebie includes two versions of the same activity page, so you’ll need to decide which one is the right level for your class. Print both pages and try solving the problems as if you were one of your students. Your students are likely to solve the problems by illustrating them, so thinking about the strategies they might use will help you choose the right level for your class.
If you want to differentiate instruction, you can use both activity pages in your class, assigning the first page to some students and the second page to those who need a challenge. However, don’t give both pages to the same student because they have similar wording with different numbers.
There are four levels in the Daily Math Puzzlers program, and each product includes enough printables and lessons for a year’s worth of instruction. The easiest Level is A which is about right for 2nd or 3rd grade, depending on your students. The most challenging level is D which may be appropriate for 5th or 6th grade.
To see examples of all of four levels and try them with your class, request a free copy of the Problem Solving Assessment pack shown below.
Administer the pretests to your class as described in the directions provided in the teacher’s guide. Answer keys are included. If you decide to implement the full Daily Math Puzzler program, you can use the post tests in the pack to assess student progress at the end of the year.
For more problem-solving strategies resources, visit my Math Problem Solving page on Teaching Resources. Problem solving can be fun when students solve just one problem a day!