Problem Solving in Guided Math Groups: Part 5

This is part of a series of problem solving posts.

The third step in Polya’s model is to CARRY OUT A PLAN.  I find even when students know the plan, this can still be a tricky step.  Here is where I talk with them about Ginsberg’s famous Bugs and Slips (see prior post).  Students often get bit by math bugs here—they make the usual errors or they slip…making silly mistakes that with a bit more care could be avoided.  So we talk about executing the plan with care…going slowly, watching what they are doing which actually segues into the 4th step: LOOK BACK (REFLECT).  I make sure they stop and check their answer.  I tell them to whisper it to themselves and see if it sounds right.  I tell them to ask themselves: Does that make sense?  Could that be possible?  I tell them to double check!

More Resources:

This website has some great logic problems. Print these off and do them in small groups.  Focus on the strategies that the students use to solve the problems.

http://www.gamequarium.com/logic.html

Error Pattern Analysis:

http://www.specialconnections.ku.edu/~specconn/page/instruction/math/pdf/patternanalysis.pdf

http://www.amazon.com/Error-Patterns-Computation-Improve-Instruction/dp/0130270938