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No More Problems with Problem Solving – Discussion
Posted by Kyle Pearce on November 10, 2021 at 3:21 pmWhat was your big take away from this particular lesson?
What is something you are still wondering?
Share your thinking below.
Hilary Kreisberg replied 8 months, 3 weeks ago 6 Members · 7 Replies 
7 Replies

A whole new way of thinking about problemsolving and higherorder cognitive engagement in mathematics. All my math charts 🙁 I will be reviewing and removing most of them. I can’t wait to begin implementing this. I think our school could use this as a PD.

Awesome to hear! Maybe you can share some of your take aways with your colleagues at a plc or staff meeting?

I had same reaction when I learned about this, too! I used to have math charts like that in my 5th grade classroom. But, as Maya Angelou once said… “Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.”


Biggest take aways:
“True problem solving requires complex thinking, questioning whether we are correct in our work, application of various areas of mathematics and much more”
“Problem solving requires students to engage in productive struggle”
Ask yourself: what challenge is there for students in this task? (helps you access the cognitive demand)
Is it problem solving or is it an exercise in strengthening skills in a particular area (e.g. multiplication practice, or area)
We need to give students tasks that they don’t already know how to solve. Need to teach them to embrace the challenge (not to take the challenge away from them by giving mnemonics and memorized procedures). Also need to provide them with time to reflect on their thinking (so they can make connections themselves). Good to teach them to rely on resources and their peers (rather than relying on the teacher to give them the answer), teach them how/where to look for/utilize their prior knowledge.
I really liked the ideas given to:
provide children with a structure for when they’re talking with a partner (giving them guidance, as often they don’t know how. we can model this or practice it together. At the beginning: “what I heard you say…” “the question we need to answer is…” “the important information is…” After doing their work: ” first I.. then I…” “how are our strategies different?”
provide language support (address vocabulary that could be confused, misunderstood, or is unfamiliar, including tenses: board vs bored, feet vs feat, whole vs hole, future tense meaning we don’t have it yet)
include families by giving them ideas of what they can do at home to encourage problem solving (strategy board games, sharing classroom norms/practices, hosting math events for families)

Great take aways here! One of the reasons we brought Hilary back for our Summit was because how aligned our thinking is around teaching and learning mathematics. You’ll notice that throughout our problem based units that we are encouraging the same pedagogy! Glad you found this helpful!


The structure of a word problem and the thought that we teach the structure of a paragraph in reading so why not teach the structure of a math word problem. The impact of predictable routines can have for our students when faced with a challenge.
Is there a way I can get access to the slides?

Hi there Jamie,
Great takeaway here. Unfortunately we don’t have access to speakers slides.
