# Category Archives: Problem Solving

## A Simpler Solution

I’m guessing this was about 5 years ago. I was at an all-day workshop when a high school math teacher, sitting next to me, asked about the PoW (from mathforum.org) that I had assigned to my students. I happened to have an extra copy in my backpack and gave it to her. Dad’s Cookies [Problem #2959] Dad bakes some […]

Posted in Problem Solving | | 8 Responses

## Hotel Snap

[NCTM Illuminations has my blessings and thanks to re-write and feature this lesson on their site.] Andrew Stadel and I recently presented this task at the 2013 CMC‘s North and South Conferences. The Challenge As a team, build a hotel that yields the highest profit [score]. Rules and guidelines for building the hotel Each cube represents a […]

Also posted in Algebra, Course 1 (6th Grade Math), Geometry | | 15 Responses

## Deconstructing a Lesson Activity – Part 2

Previously: Deconstructing a Lesson Activity – Part 1 No matter what I write in this Part 2, I hope it’s not a wrap-up of this topic. On the contrary, I hope it opens up and extends our conversations on improving the implementation of rich tasks in our classrooms. Physical arrangements, whiteboards, groupings. The student desks are […]

## Deconstructing a Lesson Activity – Part 1

[I’ve decided to break this post into two parts because I don’t want to bore and/or discourage you, and I need to take a breather. These two posts in particular are truly my labor of love because if there’s one thing that I find myself proficient at implementing in the classroom it is problem solving. […]

Also posted in Teaching | | 26 Responses

## “Working Together” Problem

[The title of this post in the old blog was actually “if there’s cold beer in the fridge.” It’s dumb, but I did end the post with “Forgive me for being such a delinquent, but my last day of school is not until June 21. I’m losing it.” So I have an excuse for everything.] Heya, back-to-back […]

Also posted in Algebra | | 1 Response

## Technology and Construction Papers are Cool

Big-time struggles for my 8th graders on this problem from Five Triangles mathematics. The one student who got it also struggled, but he was good about our rule of “never tell an answer.” What I gathered from seeing their boards and listening to them explain: They wanted to find the area of the parallelogram first. So […]

Also posted in Geometry | | 1 Response

## Venturing Into the Sequel of Penny Pyramid

I didn’t get around to doing Penny Pyramid when I first saw it last year. But Dan‘s 3-post series and Nathan‘s recent mention of it were the reminders I needed to make it happen. Act 1 how many pennies how much money is that how long did it take who in their right mind would do this/who has that patience how much […]

Also posted in Algebra, Geometry | | 2 Responses

## When I Let Them Own the Problem

From our textbook: Stuff like this makes my heart sink. (I actually wrote that it makes me fart — but that’s very unladylike. And I’m trying to write better.) There is essentially nothing left in this problem for students to explore and figure out on their own. If anything, all those labels with numbers and variables […]

Also posted in Algebra, Geometry | | 30 Responses

## Students Embroiled in Conway’s Rational Tangles

Me: We’re going to do an activity today. Jonathan: Let me guess. It’s your favorite activity. M: How did you know that? J: You say that about everything we do. M: You have a problem with that? J: No. But I’ve lost track of how many favorites you have. M: And I’ve lost track of how many […]

Also posted in Algebra, Geometry | | 6 Responses

## Don Steward’s Complete the Quadrilateral

This activity is from Don Steward’s post Complete the Quadrilateral. I’ve only learned of Don’s MEDIAN site more recently, and it’s a treasure trove because nearly every post can be an instant lesson in itself. Thank you! I like this set of 24 problems a lot, but when I click on the image of the problem in his post, I […]

Also posted in Geometry | | 5 Responses