Problem Solving: Teaching Perseverance and Math Practices | Distance Learning

Rated 4.93 out of 5, based on 553 reviews
553 Ratings
The Teacher Studio
Grade Levels
3rd - 5th
Resource Type
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86 pages
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What educators are saying

My students looked forward to completing these activities each week. Some needed more support than others, but that is to be expected.
These are awesome! My 2nd grader and I work through these together. I love seeing that "outside the box" thinking instead of only black and white math computation.


Teaching the math practice standards and problem solving skills is as important to my students as teaching them the math content. Many students coming to me often are lacking the "perseverance" needed to successfully tackle new and challenging math problems. We can explicitly teach this!

Over time, I have refined my own definition of what "perseverance" means and have worked hard to teach my students how to be energized, thoughtful mathematicians. I am hoping that you find this resource helpful for you and your grade 4-6 students as well! It's easy to use, low ink, and suggestions for use are included so you can be up and running in minutes! Now I have even included digital access!

What do you get? I start this unit with a number of lesson ideas and suggestions for how to get your students more engaged and self-reliant with their problem solving. I include photos from my classroom, learning posters that can be turned into anchor charts, rubrics, checklists, and more.

But what is really the heart of the unit is the 24 high level problems that will really test your students' ability to apply these new problem solving skills. Some of the problems have many solutions. Others are tricky to read and interpret. Others require them to simply "dig in" and start guessing and checking!

What makes the problems particularly useful is that I provide them in multiple formats--much like my many word problem sets.

I have pages with 6 different problems per page, with 6 copies of the same problem per page, as "poster headings" (one of my favorites--fully explained in the resource!), and with one problem on a page for students to really show their work and their thinking. I sometimes use these as assessments to see how my students are doing independently because so much of our math work is done cooperatively. Now, digital access allows even more flexibility!

I hope you take the time to download the preview and see what this resource has to offer--and I hope that you, too, can see that problem solving with your students can be challenging, rigorous, and FUN! Whether you use this for your entire class, as enrichment, or in centers--I believe there is something for everyone. (Yes--the answers are included!) :)


***What are teachers saying about this resource?***

"Love that my kids can use the framework of Growth Mindset with this and persevere through problem solving."

"There is something here for all my students in grade 3-5! My students ask me every day when they get to solve another puzzle! They love that there isn't necessarily a correct answer because the possible solutions are endless! They made giant posters out of their puzzles that they want to line the hallways with. They are so proud of the word they did using these puzzles. Thank you so much for the wonderful product!"

"This has been a great way to begin the year! I love that I can continue to use this product to challenge the students going forward as well. Thank you!"


Want to see some other problem solving resources?

Here is just a small sampling of the many resources in my store!

Multi-Step Word Problems for Grades 3/4

Word Problem Bundled Set for Grades 4/5

Word Problem Bundled Set for Grades 3/4

Back to School Word Problems

Seasonal Word Problem bundle (individual sets also available)

"Amazing Facts" Task Card Bundle (individual sets also available)

CGI Word Problem Bundle (individual sets also available)

All rights reserved by ©The Teacher Studio. Purchase of this resource entitles the purchaser the right to reproduce the pages in limited quantities for single classroom use only. Duplication for an entire school, an entire school system, or commercial purposes is strictly forbidden without written permission from the author at Additional licenses are available at a reduced price.

Total Pages
86 pages
Answer Key
Included with rubric
Teaching Duration
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to see state-specific standards (only available in the US).
Solve two-step word problems using the four operations. Represent these problems using equations with a letter standing for the unknown quantity. Assess the reasonableness of answers using mental computation and estimation strategies including rounding.
Solve multistep word problems posed with whole numbers and having whole-number answers using the four operations, including problems in which remainders must be interpreted. Represent these problems using equations with a letter standing for the unknown quantity. Assess the reasonableness of answers using mental computation and estimation strategies including rounding.
Generate a number or shape pattern that follows a given rule. Identify apparent features of the pattern that were not explicit in the rule itself. For example, given the rule “Add 3” and the starting number 1, generate terms in the resulting sequence and observe that the terms appear to alternate between odd and even numbers. Explain informally why the numbers will continue to alternate in this way.
Make sense of problems and persevere in solving them. Mathematically proficient students start by explaining to themselves the meaning of a problem and looking for entry points to its solution. They analyze givens, constraints, relationships, and goals. They make conjectures about the form and meaning of the solution and plan a solution pathway rather than simply jumping into a solution attempt. They consider analogous problems, and try special cases and simpler forms of the original problem in order to gain insight into its solution. They monitor and evaluate their progress and change course if necessary. Older students might, depending on the context of the problem, transform algebraic expressions or change the viewing window on their graphing calculator to get the information they need. Mathematically proficient students can explain correspondences between equations, verbal descriptions, tables, and graphs or draw diagrams of important features and relationships, graph data, and search for regularity or trends. Younger students might rely on using concrete objects or pictures to help conceptualize and solve a problem. Mathematically proficient students check their answers to problems using a different method, and they continually ask themselves, "Does this make sense?" They can understand the approaches of others to solving complex problems and identify correspondences between different approaches.
Construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others. Mathematically proficient students understand and use stated assumptions, definitions, and previously established results in constructing arguments. They make conjectures and build a logical progression of statements to explore the truth of their conjectures. They are able to analyze situations by breaking them into cases, and can recognize and use counterexamples. They justify their conclusions, communicate them to others, and respond to the arguments of others. They reason inductively about data, making plausible arguments that take into account the context from which the data arose. Mathematically proficient students are also able to compare the effectiveness of two plausible arguments, distinguish correct logic or reasoning from that which is flawed, and-if there is a flaw in an argument-explain what it is. Elementary students can construct arguments using concrete referents such as objects, drawings, diagrams, and actions. Such arguments can make sense and be correct, even though they are not generalized or made formal until later grades. Later, students learn to determine domains to which an argument applies. Students at all grades can listen or read the arguments of others, decide whether they make sense, and ask useful questions to clarify or improve the arguments.


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