Problem Solving

You will find that there are hyperlinks throughout the slideshow; images link to the appropriate web page or document.
Files:  pdf: Problem Solving in Mathematics 

PowerPoint:  Problem Solving in Mathematics

See also Problem Solving 16-19

Further Notes (relevant links for each section  are also given here)

What is a problem anyway?
GCSE & A Level Reform in particular: GCSE mathematics subject content and assessment objectives where the assessment object AO3 defines what is regarded as Problem Solving at GCSE. It is helpful to look ahead to A Level – see:  A level mathematics working group report which is very clear on what may be considered problem solving.

Ask the students
For our students to be good problem solvers who have the confidence to start on a problem without necessarily know where they are going with it they need a classroom environment where they are comfortable to take risks and know that it is OK to make mistakes. They need great teachers who not only understand their subject but the importance of the teacher / student relationship. Here’s what some Year 9 (ages 13-14) students said about Good Maths teachers and this from Year 7 (ages 11-12).

Teaching Ideas
You can see some questions to consider on the slides.
There are several slides here on using diagrams; sometimes we run the risk of getting too formal too quickly – some great diagrams can help with understanding and be very useful in our teaching. Giving students just a diagram and asking them what the question might be can be a very useful exercise too and also be a good way to discuss the vocabulary used in exams.

I always tell students that going backwards can be great for understanding and also making connections – consider expanding brackets and factorising for example.

Links to the resources in this section:


Making It Stick

Further Resources