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Math Mindsets are the guiding principles that underlie my instruction in mathematics, specifically as it relates to critical thinking and problem-solving. I expose my students to these concepts early on in the year, and we revisit them whenever we are working on tackling a complex mathematical problem.
This pack includes a constructible bulletin board header (I back mine with orange construction paper), the five math mindsets in poster form, and a problem-solving rubric with a spot for students to self-assess for each of the mindsets.
I teach my students (second graders) five math mindsets:
1. Look for Multiple Ways to Solve a Problem:
This mindset highlights that there are many different ways to tackle the same problem and that, by not limiting ourselves to one way of thinking about the problem, we can develop unique approaches to finding a solution.
2. Use Tools and Resources to Help You Solve the Problem:
This mindset reminds students that there are resources in the classroom that they can make use of when problem-solving – including peers, manipulatives, or technology.
3. Stick with the Problem, Even When It Is Difficult:
This mindset prompts students to remember that they can find a solution if they remain tenacious in their problem-solving.
4. Show Your Work So Others Can Understand Your Thinking:
It can be so challenging to get young students to show their work on problems! This mindset reminds them why they should show their work – so that others can understand their thinking and their approach to the problem.
5. Check Your Work to Make Sure Your Answer Makes Sense:
The final math mindset reminds students to avoid the classic mistake of getting so excited about having reached a solution that they forget to check whether or not it makes sense and answers the question being asked.
My students are constantly thinking about these Math Mindsets when problem-solving in our classroom.When solving particularly complex problems, I have students use a Problem-Solving Rubric (also included in this product)
to record their answers and to self-assess their use of the different math mindsets.
Mindset-Linked Problem-Solving Sheets
The orange and yellow circles used throughout this product were created by Graphics by Ashley Hughes. Her TPT store can be accessed here.
The font used for most of the headings the wording of the Math Mindsets is TTGSkinnySticks created by TeachesThirdinGeorgia.
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