Category Archives: Problem Solving

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. […]

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“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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 | Tagged , , | 5 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 | Tagged , , , | 4 Responses

Stack ’em High

My algebra kiddos are doing Dan Meyer’s Stacking Cups because Andrew Stadel did the lesson and wrote glowingly about it. But Andrew used only one-size cups, I used three (that’s three!) different sizes. Who’s better now. Just eyeballing I ask students to look at me, look at this 12-oz Styrofoam cup that I’m holding, and estimate how many cups they […]

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The question was mine, but the answer was all his.

I carry a defective teacher gene that makes me intolerant of pacing guides and curriculum guidelines. I’m sure I’m a month behind in the pacing guide, and I’m pretty sure no part of today’s lesson will appear on any state test. But I did it anyway. The algebra kids have been doing a lot of […]

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Lego Pieces and Feasible Region

This afternoon I came across a tall stack of Lego® boxes stored in my son’s closet; they reminded me of a lesson. (My son just turned 20 three days ago. I can still see him playing with his Lego sets for hours on end when he was younger. And when he ran out of floor space […]

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