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Monday, February 29, 2016

Picture That: Math Models and Problem Solving

Today students continued working on a short, targeted process for solving word problems. Essentially they did the following:

  • read the problem carefully marking up the text with a pencil
  • drew a model of what the problem was stating
  • created an algebraic equation
  • solved the equation
  • reread the problem's question
  • wrote an answer using a sentence.
I purposely used somewhat simple problems so students could focus on using a variable, writing an algebraic sentence, and answering the question with an explicit sentence that matches the question asked.

I reviewed the acronym, RICE, that we used to guide the problem work. Then I modeled one problem. After that student after student got up to model the problem work for the class. It was great to hear students apply the strategy. And even better, it was wonderful to see how students represented the problems with models.

Tomorrow students will have the chance to apply this process as they take part three of the systemwide math test. It will be interesting to see if they apply what we've been working on as I walk around the room.

In general, it was a good lesson, one that we'll build on a lot next month as we return to the POWerful SRSD approach to solving multi-tiered math problems.