Tag Archives: problem solving

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 […]

Posted in Algebra, Geometry, Problem Solving | Also tagged , , , , , | 30 Responses

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 […]

Posted in Algebra, Problem Solving | Also tagged , , , , | 12 Responses

More Rectangles and One Good Read

I just started reading this book on Ramanujan, and I highly recommend it. Curmudgeon just posted this Painter’s Puzzle yesterday on Christmas Day — what a nice gift for us! A painting contractor knows that 12 painters could paint all of the school classrooms in 18 days. They begin painting. After 6 days of work, though, 4 people were added […]

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Equilateral Triangles

Thank you to Dan Meyer for this great task idea on equilateral triangles. Act One is this video which asks for a ranking of how well each teacher had drawn his equilateral triangle. But as soon as I saw the video, two thoughts came up: We’re in a 0:1 classroom right now, and having the whole class come […]

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Drawing Rectangles Instead of Writing Equations

I don’t see dead people but I see rectangles all the time. The first time I saw a multiplication fact, like 3 x 5, as a rectangular array was after I’d graduated from college. And because I was so very late to this game, I thought drawing rectangles must be how everyone else — at least math […]

Posted in General, Problem Solving | Also tagged , , , , , | 7 Responses

Using Excel for Problem Solving

One of the more enduring lessons that I do with my algebra class is having them use Excel for problem solving. Don’t know why I haven’t written about it as I’ve been teaching this strategy for at least 5 years now. (I don’t recall reading other teachers’ blogs about using Excel this way either. Please let me know if you […]

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Making Problem Solving Part of the Math Curriculum

In my last post, I wrote: I also want to start them immediately on the weekly Problem Solving (aka PS — our parents call them PMS, haha, such funny parents we have). I might write a post on this because it’s really at the heart of why I love teaching math. So, this is a post about my favorite geeky mathy thingy that […]

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Last Math Lessons

On the first day of school, I promised all my students that I’d do my best to make math relevant and challenging. I also promised to never waste their time, therefore they could expect to do math every day in my class, including the last day of class. I did not promise them that math would be fun […]

Posted in Algebra, Course 1 (6th Grade Math), Geometry, Problem Solving | Also tagged , , , , , , , , , | 2 Responses