Kimberly Brooks

Go to: Problem Solving Strategies in a Math Classroom or ETAP 623 Spring 2015 taught by Zhang

Etap 623 me.jpg

About me

My name is Kimberly Brooks I am 22 years old and graduated SUNY Oneonta in May 2014. During my time at Oneonta I studied Math and Adolescent Education and hope to get a job as a math teacher on Long Island or in Rockland County. I was born and raised on Long Island and have two younger brothers. During my search for a teaching job I am working full time in the medical department of the Local 3 Electricians Union in Flushing Queens. I am currently taking two classes in the CDIT Program: Systematic Design of Instruction and Teachers in context

My Topic/Purpose

The purpose of this mini course is to teach educators about the importance of teaching problem solving skills in a math classroom. Some topics that will be covered in this course are as follows:

  • Effective Ways to Teach Problem Solving Skills
  • The Role of Problem Solving in a Mathematics Classroom
  • The Importance of Problem Solving Skills

The Learners will be able to

  1. Identify strategies used to teach problem solving skills
  2. Identify how problem solving is used in a mathematics classroom
  3. Defend the usefulness of problem solving skills
  4. Explain how problem solving skills can teach students to be more critical thinkers

Needs Assessment

1. Instructional Problem: Many times in mathematics classroom teachers simply give students a procedure to follow and then drill them with exercises. However, this is when students begin asking the time old question of when they will ever use anything that they are learning in the real world. Therefore, more important than teaching students mathematical procedures is teaching students how to problem solve, how to work through a situation step by step using critical thinking and problem solving skills to reach an accurate and acceptable answer, which will allow them to logically and systematically work through problems in their everyday life. So to answer the question of when a triangle proof will ever be needed, the answer is simple: anytime you run into a problem that needs a solution

2. What is to be Learned: Participants in this course will learn the importance of teaching students problem solving skills in a math classroom. Additionally, participants will learn how to effectively teach students problem solving skills by using a variety of instructional methods.

3. The Learners: Learners will be high school math teachers or pre-service math teachers. While some classroom experience is preferred this course will benefit any math teacher who ranges from little to no experience all the way up to veteran teachers.

4. Instructional Context: The majority of this course will take place in an online format using the Knowledge Network by and for Educators (KNILT). Participants will proceed through a series of units that cover different aspects of the instructional problem in order to improve their instruction of problem solving skills.

5. Exploration of the Instructional Problem and Solution: Many math teachers fall into the trap of drill and practice problems with their students because as we are taught practice makes perfect. However, students are not gaining anything from memorizing a formula and applying it to problem after problem that has the same structure with different numbers. However, when students are given the opportunity to discover and develop their own knowledge not only to they better understand the concepts being taught but they learn the skills necessary to recognize a problem, work through it, and reach a solution. This skill is not only useful in school but also in everyday life.

6. Generate Goals: The main goal of this course it to teach the participants effective ways to teach and incorporate problem-solving skills into a mathematics classroom. Also, the course has been created with the hopes of allowing teachers to see how important these skills are to students, especially in a world when technology does so much for us because technology is not perfect and there may be a problem at a time when “just Google it” will not be the answer to the problem.

Analysis of the Learner and Context

This mini-course is designed for 7-12 mathematics teachers and pre-service 7-12 mathematics teachers. Problem solving strategies are especially applicable n a math classroom because students are literally solving problems. However, with specific strategies on how to teach problem solving teachers will be able to show students how these strategies can be applied outside of the classroom in their everyday lives.The teachers participating in this course will have carrying levels of teaching experience and there is no requirement for experience. This course will allow all participants to build new skills on how to better instruct their students.

Performance Objectives

Course-level objectives

By the conclusion of this course, each participant will be able to:

  • Justify the importance of the incorporation of problem solving skills in a mathematics classroom within a discussion with other participants.
  • Demonstrate an effective strategy that they used to teach students problem solving skills by submitting a formal lesson plan and video evidence of the strategy's implementation.
  • Create a lesson plan that includes at least one strategy used to teach problem solving skills.

Task Analysis


Participants will learn effective strategies to teach problem solving strategies and their benefits.

End of Course Objectives:

  • Participants will be able to effectively incorporate problem solving strategies into their classrooms
  • Participants will be able to communicate why problem solving skills are so important in a math classroom.

Performance Objectives:

Unit 1: Introduction to Problem Solving Skills

  • Participants will be introduced to problem solving strategies and the steps taken to solve a problem.
  • Participants will begin learning about the importance of problem solving strategies in a math classroom.
  • Participants will participate in a discussion about any prior use of problem solving strategies and the importance of these strategies.

Unit 2:Importance of Problem Solving Strategies

  • Participants will analyze the importance of problem solving strategies being taught in a math classroom.
  • Participants will discuss possible results of teaching problem solving strategies in a math classroom.

Unit 3:Lesson Plan/Implementation

  • Participants will learn methods to teach students to solve problems.
  • Participants will create their own mini lesson plan including one or more problem solving strategies of their choice.
  • Participants will display their ability to implement a problem solving strategy into a real classroom setting.
  • Participants will complete a peer analysis on classmates lesson plans to determine the effectiveness of the lesson based on the lesson plan and video of lesson implementation.

Essential Prerequisites:

  • The participants must be teaching are studying to teach 7-12 mathematics.
  • The participants will demonstrate their ability to navigate and online wiki page.
  • The participants will demonstrate their ability to create a lesson plan.

Supportive Prerequisites:

  • The Participant is motivated to learn a new teaching strategies and techniques.
  • The participant is motivated to assist students in learning new problem solving strategies that can be applied inside and outside of the classroom
  • The participant is interested in incorporating more problem solving based learning into their teaching style.

Curriculum Map


Go to: Problem Solving Strategies in a Math Classroom