On Monday 2nd May Mitcham staff engaged in professional learning in the area of Numeracy during our Pupil Free day. All staff members at Mitcham Primary including SSOs and some TRTs attended this valuable professional development “Teaching through problem solving”
By introducing problem-solving skills in the classroom, children learn to think in terms of manageable steps as they
- Identify the problem
- Brainstorm possible solutions
- Test appropriate solutions
- Analyse the results
Problem-solving is an important way of learning because it motivates children to connect previous knowledge with new situations. It develops flexibility and creativity. Engaging in productive struggle is one of the most effective ways teachers can help develop conceptual understanding in students.
Students use strategies in problem-solving that makes sense to them. If they are not using the standard algorithms, the skills are still there. They might approach the problem differently based on their understanding, not just memorisation. Standard algorithms might be one technique, but mathematically proficient students have access to multiple strategies so they can select the most efficient strategy in any given situation.
Some questions for parents/carers to help the student if they are stuck on a Maths problem at home might be:
- What do you need to figure out?
- What is the problem about?
- What words are confusing?
- What words are familiar?
- Did you solve problems like this one in class today?
- What have you tried so far?
- What else can you try?
- Can you make a drawing or chart to help you think about the problem?
- What terminology or processes do you use in your class?
- Does your answer make sense?
- Is there more than one answer?
- How might you check your answer?