Saturday, October 5, 2013

Upcoming Problem Solving

I love problem solving ... I wish we had more time for exploring nonroutine problems in our Algebra 2 course.  Our district has a tight curriculum schedule - filled with specific skills.  We meet for 90 minutes every other day which means we teach several skills in a lesson.  I'm always on the look-out for a problem that ties those skills together!

This year we have had time for short explorations.  We chased the Tortoise, Hare, and Rat in a race.  We munched on Oreos while we found the calories in the wafer and the stuffing.

In the coming two weeks I am planning two problem solving days.  

On Tuesday/Wednesday of the coming week, students will take a

ride at the Mild and Wild Amusement Park.  We are in the middle of our Matrices unit.  I am looking forward to the conversations around our room!

Then on October 15, we will join Detective Curlock Foams in finding the culprit in a mystery of the missing laundry! 

I look forward to writing about these adventures!  We will be using our group whiteboards that were funded through Donors Choose! I need to create a rubric for problem solving.  I know when students work in groups that most will be engaged and thoughtful about the work.  There will also be a few students who are dependent on their classmates and choose to check out of the work.

How do you ensure that all students are working, thinking, communicating math when doing group problem solving??



  1. I love murder mystery puzzles. I'm always way more excited about them than the students though. Love your $2 dollar whiteboards. Might need to see if we have a similar thing in the UK. We have a set of mini ones in our classroom and I use sugar paper for that size work if I can find some but those board look very handy.

    1. Hi Victoria -

      Thanks for your note. I submitted a proposal on Donors Choose for my whiteboards and they were purchased from WhiteboardsUSA: I know that the local hardware stores that sell showerboard will cut the showerboard into sizes that are good for group whiteboards. Last year I used a simple mini murder mystery when working on systems of equations with students: Gradient Straight Line - Murder Mystery - KS3 by whieldon on the Think Educate Share Connect site ...

      Thanks for stopping by!

  2. Hey Beth! I'm going to keep your Tortoise, Hare, and Rat Race task in mind when my pre-algebra students get into systems of equations. I see you are looking for a collaborative work rubric. Have you seen this one:
    developed by Elizabeth at
    I've modified it a tad: but it is a fabulous, thoughtful rubric.

    1. Hi Mary - I have seen Elizabeth's rubric. I've thought about modifying it a bit ... it is a very thoughtful rubric. I'm thinking about taking a few minutes with students to brainstorm 3 - 4 expected qualities and have them help me flesh out what those should look like. I'm thinking that if students help me create the rubric they will be more likely to understand it and work towards the qualities it embodies.

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