Problem Solving Everyday Problem solving is not an isolated activity. It doesn't occur every Friday. Instead problem solving is a skill that favors every mathematics lesson. Problem solving is more than just one-step word problems. Problem solving should feature risk tasks, authentic purposes, and multiple ways to be solved.

Avoiding key words 1. Key words are misleading. Some key words typically mean addition or subtraction. But not always. Consider: There were 4 jackets left on the playground on Monday and 5 jackets left on the playground on Tuesday. How many jackets were left on the playground? "Left" in this problem does not mean subtract.

2. Many problems have no key words. For example, How many legs do 7 elephants have? does not have a key word. However, any 1st grader should be able to solve the problem by thinking and drawing a picture or building a model.

3. It sends a bad message. The most important strategy when solving a problem is to make sense of the problem and to think. Key words encourage students to ignore meaning and look for a formula. Mathematics is about meaning (Van de Walle, 2012).

Solving Problems Relies on Thinking and Making Sense. Context Helps Make Meaning.

Context helps students make meaning to solve problems. The story problem links below can be connected to a variety of children's literature titles to build context. There are examples of each story structure for each context/theme. Story structures adapted from CGI, 1998. Spaces for quantity are left blank intentionally. Please use numbers that your students are appropriate for your students.

Problems for Addition and Subtraction

Context helps students make meaning to solve problems. The story problem links below can be connected to a variety of children's literature titles to build context. There are examples of each story structure for each context/theme. Spaces for quantity are left blank intentionally. Please use numbers that your students are appropriate for your students.

Math Stars
The purpose of MathStars is to challenge students beyond the classroom setting. Good problems can inspire curiosity about number relationships and geometric properties. It is hoped that in accepting the challenge of mathematical problem solving, students, their parents, and their teachers will be led to explore new mathematical horizons. Math Stars are in sets for Grades 1-8 and include commentaries for teachers. All Math StarsNewsletters are ready for classroom use and available for downloading as PDF files.

Math Problem Solving Decks
You might consider allowing students to work with partners. Many of these problems are best solved with calculators. All of these problems lend themselves to students telling and writing about their thinking.

The basic purpose of Superstars III is to provide the extra challenge that self-motivated students need in mathematics, and to do so in a structured, long-term program that does not impinge on the normal classroom routine or the time of the teacher. The system is not meant to replace any aspect of the school curriculum -- it is offered as a peripheral opportunity for students who identify with challenges and who want to be rewarded for their extra effort.

Problem Solving EverydayProblem solving is not an isolated activity. It doesn't occur every Friday. Instead problem solving is a skill that favors every mathematics lesson. Problem solving is more than just one-step word problems. Problem solving should feature risk tasks, authentic purposes, and multiple ways to be solved.

Avoiding key words1. Key words are misleading.Some key words typically mean addition or subtraction. But not always. Consider: There were 4 jackets left on the playground on Monday and 5 jackets left on the playground on Tuesday. How many jackets were left on the playground? "Left" in this problem does not mean subtract.2. Many problems have no key words.For example, How many legs do 7 elephants have? does not have a key word. However, any 1st grader should be able to solve the problem by thinking and drawing a picture or building a model.3. It sends a bad message.The most important strategy when solving a problem is to make sense of the problem and to think. Key words encourage students to ignore meaning and look for a formula. Mathematics is about meaning (Van de Walle, 2012).Solving Problems Relies on Thinking and Making Sense. Context Helps Make Meaning.Context helps students make meaning to solve problems. The story problem links below can be connected to a variety of children's literature titles to build context. There are examples of each story structure for each context/theme. Story structures adapted from CGI, 1998. Spaces for quantity are left blank intentionally. Please use numbers that your students are appropriate for your students.

Problems for Addition and SubtractionContext helps students make meaning to solve problems. The story problem links below can be connected to a variety of children's literature titles to build context. There are examples of each story structure for each context/theme. Spaces for quantity are left blank intentionally. Please use numbers that your students are appropriate for your students.

Problems for MultiplicationRubric for DICEThank you to Grade 1 at the RooseveltDICE Explanation and ChecklistThank you to Grade 4 at the RooseveltMath Sentence Frames for Explaining

Math StarsThe purpose of

MathStarsis to challenge students beyond the classroom setting. Good problems can inspire curiosity about number relationships and geometric properties. It is hoped that in accepting the challenge of mathematical problem solving, students, their parents, and their teachers will be led to explore new mathematical horizons.Math Starsare in sets for Grades 1-8 and include commentaries for teachers. AllMath StarsNewslettersare ready for classroom use and available for downloading as PDF files.Math Problem Solving DecksYou might consider allowing students to work with partners. Many of these problems are best solved with calculators. All of these problems lend themselves to students telling and writing about their thinking.

The basic purpose ofSuperStars IIISuperstars IIIis to provide the extra challenge that self-motivated students need in mathematics, and to do so in a structured, long-term program that does not impinge on the normal classroom routine or the time of the teacher. The system is not meant to replace any aspect of the school curriculum -- it is offered as a peripheral opportunity for students who identify with challenges and who want to be rewarded for their extra effort.