# Teaching Mathematics Through Problem Solving

These types of complex problems will provide opportunities for discussion and learning.Students will have opportunities to explain their ideas, respond to the ideas of others, and challenge their thinking.

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“A problem-solving curriculum, however, requires a different role from the teacher.

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.

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

From birth, children are learning how to learn: they respond to their environment and the reactions of others.

Getting unstuck typically takes time and involves trying a variety of approaches. Effective problems: ‘classrooms where the orientation consistently defines task outcomes in terms of the answers rather than the thinking processes entailed in reaching the answers negatively affects the thinking processes and mathematical identities of learners’ (Anthony and Walshaw, 2007, page 122).

Effective teachers model good problem-solving habits for their students.The challenge for teachers is ensuring the problems they set are designed to support mathematics learning and are appropriate and challenging for all students.The problems need to be difficult enough to provide a challenge but not so difficult that students can’t succeed.These include recognition of the developmental aspects of learning and the essential fact that students actively engage in learning mathematics through Children arrive at school with intuitive mathematical understandings.A teacher needs to connect with and build on those understandings through experiences that allow students to explore mathematics and to communicate their ideas in a meaningful dialogue with the teacher and their peers.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.A problem in mathematics is any situation that must be resolved using mathematical tools but for which there is no immediately obvious strategy.The teacher’s role is to construct problems and present situations that provide a forum in which problem-solving can occur.Our students live in an information and technology-based society where they need to be able to think critically about complex issues, and “analyze and think logically about new situations, devise unspecified solution procedures, and communicate their solution clearly and convincingly to others” (Baroody, 1998).Through these social interactions, students feel that they can take risks, try new strategies, and give and receive feedback.They learn cooperatively as they share a range of points of view or discuss ways of solving a problem.

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