Problem Solving Activities For Primary Students

By Jean Gilliam De Gaetano The problem solving activities in this reproducible workbook go beyond choosing a solution.The activities concentrate on the possible long-range outcomes that could happen when a certain solution is chosen. The problems need to be difficult enough to provide a challenge but not so difficult that students can’t succeed.Teachers who get this right create resilient problem solvers who know that with perseverance they can succeed.A problem in mathematics is any situation that must be resolved using mathematical tools but for which there is no immediately obvious strategy.If the way forward is obvious, it’s not a problem—it is a straightforward application.

By the time young children enter school they are already well along the pathway to becoming problem solvers.

We have known for a long time that reading is a complex problem-solving activity.

More recently, teachers have come to understand that becoming mathematically literate is also a complex problem-solving activity that increases in power and flexibility when practiced more often.

Rather than directing a lesson, the teacher needs to provide time for students to grapple with problems, search for strategies and solutions on their own, and learn to evaluate their own results.

Although the teacher needs to be very much present, the primary focus in the class needs to be on the students’ thinking processes.”Students need to have opportunities to work on complex tasks rather than a series of simple tasks devolved from a complex task.

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