Thursday, May 12, 2005

Math Solutions - Solving Word Problems

I finally got a chance to read the latest Math Solutions Online Newsletter. Regardless of what grade level you teach, there is some great information there. In the Q & A section, there was a great tip for improving students' ability to solve word problems. From the site:
My students seemed to have the greatest success with word problems when we spent time having them develop the word problems themselves. There was something about having to construct their own problem that led to a greater understanding of already-constructed word problems. The concern was not doing the computation, but rather understanding what the problem was asking them to do.
In order to better understand what problems are asking, provide students with some information related to a concept you are currently teaching and then have each student complete the following steps:
  1. By yourself, write a question that can be answered from the information posted.

  2. In your groups, read your questions aloud and discuss whether they can be answered.

  3. In your groups, brainstorm as many questions as you can that can be answered from the same information. Write them on one sheet of paper.
After these steps, students can then present their questions to the class and have the rest of the class answer them. Today my classes are looking at double bar graphs that they have created from data they collected yesterday. Instead of just asking them questions about the graphs, I think I'll have them develop the questions themselves. This seems like a more engaging technique that will get them to think about the graphs more.

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1 comment:

mathplayground said... is a problem solving site for middle school students that encourages students to create and send in their own word problems. Excellent video explanations and interactive questions are included.