Problem solving is a complex process, students need many strategies to get help with what can be an overwhelming task. As teachers of literacy, we help students constantly solve words and filter through different language components with all kinds of strategies. Why not provide the same types of strategies for math? These question/helping cards will help students through three stages of the problem solving process. They are for students of all ability levels, since even gifted students can to struggle with communicating their thinking and reasoning.
Cards can be printed on colorful paper, (red/pink, yellow and green is suggested), laminated, and put on a ring. They can be next to students as they begin a problem to help them along. If cards are different colors they can easily flip to the color of the card they need to get question prompts. The cards are split into three "levels".
1. Understanding the Problem (red/pink)
2. Making and Carrying out a Plan (yellow)
3. Checking the Answer (green)
These cards are written in student friendly language and can be used for any grade level where students are able to read. I have used them with 3rd and 4th graders. I generally give a set to every student in the class, and we talk about which prompting cards helped as we work through the problem as a class.
This resource includes:
1. 32 question cards (split into 3 sections)
2. A week's worth of practice problems (five of them on half sheets to save you some paper) The sample problems are comparative and are appropriate for third/fourth graders.
3. Answer key for the practice problems
4. Suggestions for set up, and instructions for how to use the cards
Please see the preview for a sampling of a few of the cards, as well as the TV Zombies problem. :)
If you are interested in strengthening problem solving in your classroom, feel free to check out:
Guide to Introducing Standards for Mathematical Practice
Challenging Open Ended Performance Tasks:
Open Ended Word Problems (My best seller!)
Open Ended Problems - Set 2