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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 five problem-solving sheets (one focusing on each mindset) and two versions of a self-assessment rubric for students.
The problem-solving sheets are as follows:
• Look for Multiple Ways to Solve a Problem:
Students must share three ways that they could have solved the problem and explain which strategy they prefer.
• Use Tools and Resources:
Students identify three potentially useful resources and explain why each one could help them solve the problem.
• Stick with the Problem:
Students identify how challenging the problem was to solve and explain what they did to remain committed to finding a solution.
• Show Your Work:
Students show their work using words and drawings to gain practice showing their thinking in different ways.
• Check Your Work:
Students identify what the question they are seeking an answer to is, devise a way to use math to check their answer, and assess the reasonableness of their solution.
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.The rubric included here is the simplest form of the rubrics that I use – stay tuned for future Math Mindset products that will contain these more specific rubrics for when you want to focus on just one of the Math Mindsets.
Math Mindsets Bulletin Board Poster Pack
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 headings on the cover of this Math Mindsets product is TTGSkinnySticks created by TeachesThirdinGeorgia.
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