More problems to solve
I have spent the last hour tweaking what I intend to do in Monday’s course, “Using resources to develop problem solving skills in secondary mathematics” The problem I have is not what to do, but what to leave out. We have so many resources from on the eLibrary alone before adding resources from elsewhere into my list of good resources to be used to develop problem solving skills.
I was asked earlier I the week whether I had a scheme of work for problem solving as their school had a problem solving lesson. The short answer was “no”, for more reasons than I have space here to list. The intention of the new curriculum is that problem solving and mathematical thinking be integral to the way mathematics is taught and leant throughout the curriculum. I wanted to be helpful so the only advice I could give was to concentrate upon the problem solving skill you wish students to develop when selecting the problems chosen, rather than any particular mathematical topic.
The question attached, is taken from the UKMT 2013 intermediate mathematics challenge paper. I have adapted the question and I ask students: “What is the shortest possible perimeter of the shape produced when four identical isosceles right-angled triangles are joined together such that sides match exactly?” I give out appropriate triangle shapes for students to manipulate whilst considering how to approach the problem and only suggest the shapes given in this question as scaffolding where needed. Have a go at the problem and post your answers below, thinking about what problem solving skills students would use in solving the problem. The solution is attached together with some great extension ideas.