The ability to solve problems using multiple methods is an essential skill students need to be successful mathematicians. NCTM (2014) advocates that “teachers must regularly select and implement tasks that promote reasoning and problem solving” so that students have opportunities to engage in “high-level” thinking (p. 17). In fact, research shows that “student learning is greatest in classrooms where the tasks consistently encourage high-level student thinking and reasoning” (NCTM, 2014, p. 17).
The weekly Solve It! problem is designed to help meet these goals and provide teachers with an engaging task that will provide opportunities for students to reason about math and engage in high-level thinking. Additionally, students will strengthen their communication skills and learn to evaluate the mathematical thinking of others.
Here’s how Solve It! Friday works:
1. Each Friday morning (at 12:00 AM Central Time), I will post one problem-solving task. Note: In some cases, I may post more than one version of the task to reach a wider variety of grades.
2. Before the next Friday, use the task with your students.
3. Have students solve the problems individually or with a group.
4. Individual students or student groups create posters using numbers, pictures, and words to illustrate the solutions. Note: The blank backs of old book covers make great poster paper!
5. Either via a math talk session or a gallery walk, be sure to have students share their responses with other students.
I would love to see your students’ responses and showcase them on social media. Please post your students’ responses to Twitter using the hashtag #RMTSolveIt(week number). For privacy, please be sure that students’ names and other identifying information is located on the back of the poster. Be sure to check out other classes’ solutions using the same hashtag to filter the Twitter results.
I look forward to seeing your students’ work! Thanks for sharing!
Solutions: The real beauty of these tasks is in the process. Please emphasize that with your students. It may take some time to solve these problems. Validate their efforts and ask questions to move them in a different direction. For your convenience, I have provided the solutions below:
#RMTSolveItWeekIA: Jendi’s supplies weigh 7 ounces. The pencil box weighs 4 ounces.
#RMTSolveItWeekIB: Kingston’s school supplies weigh 4 pounds, therefore Cassie’s school supplies weigh 12 pounds. The backpack weighs 3 pounds.
National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. (2014). Principles to actions: Ensuring mathematical success for all. The National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, Inc.: Reston, VA.