Problem Solving Strategies
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Problem Solving Method, Step 1: Read and Understand
MCC2.OA.2 Fluently add and subtract within 20 using mental strategies. By end of Grade 2, know from memory all sums of two one-digit numbers.
How do mathematicians solve problems?
about 1 hour
math problem, chart paper, marker, math games
Students will begin to learn about the problem solving method for math: read and understand the problem.
I usually use Fridays as exemplar days. Today we will be spending our math time learning about the problem-solving process for exemplars (word problems). Mini lesson: In math we have many different problems to solve. We can’t always use the same strategy to solve each problem, and there are many different ways to solve just one problem. So today we are going to start learning about how we can solve problems. Problem solving method for Exemplars: have an anchor chart with this title. The first step in the problem-solving method is to Read and Understand the Problem. This will be the first step on your anchor chart. Use the exemplar problem: “Lynn’s Ladder: Lynn is a forest ranger who works at the top of a mountain. She climbs up a ladder to a platform to watch for forest fires. The ladder had 12 rungs that need to be painted. Lynn wants to use 3 different colors to paint the rungs of her ladder. She also wants to make a pattern. Show how Lynn should paint the ladder.” (You might want to print this to have students glue the problem in their math journals.) Explain that the first step should always be to read the problem. Do this together. Then we need to understand the problem. Read it again and start to underline things that are important in the story for solving the problem: 12 rungs, 3 different colors, pattern. Like we learned in journaling, we have to explain our thinking with words, so next we will write what we understand about the problem. Write something like: I understand that Lynn as a ladder with 12 rungs and she is painting the rungs in a pattern using 3 different colors.
This will happen when students come to the table to meet with you.
At this time, students can break up into their groups once again. Group 1: Salute, Group 2: teacher-allow students to practice reading and understanding a different exemplar problem (You can make up one similar to Lynn’s Ladder), Group 3: tic tac toe, Group 4: odd/even game. After about 10 minutes, clap for attention, clean up, and rotate. Remember to correct behaviors immediately and praise good behaviors.
Review the first step in the problem solving process and what it means.