George Polya was a Hungarian mathematician who penned a book titled How to Get it. In that book, we comes up with a four-step guide to mathematical problem solving
Understand the problem. Make a plan. Carry out the plan. Look back on your work.
I am going to try and adopt this to a grade 5/6 class, with level friendly language to help guide them through the process. Here is what I have so far; I hope start doing a weekly Problem Solving class, where we work through the steps and train ourselves to think like problem solvers. I would love some feedback. What do you think? Is there anything wrong with what I have up there? Anything I should add? Anything that is unclear? Put your thinking hats on and deconstruct it.
Each unit is different. Each unit has a different shape.
Some of them are straight linear lines, start at point A, pass point B, end at Point C.
Some of them are more root-like, branching off into many different directions.
My favorite picture book is Flotsam by David Wiesner.
It is a wordless picture book about a boy who finds a camera on the beach. He develops the pictures inside and discovers new worlds beyond his imagination. Every class I have ever shown it to has loved it. It leads to wonderfully imaginative discussions and so many questions. The other day we were working on asking imaginative questions and I used this book as a starting point for a writing activity.
As I went through the book and the kids read it (or looked at it, but experienced it is probably the better description) I had them writing down every question that came to their head. At the end of the book, we had about a hundred questions so we began sharing them and discussing what questions would lead to new and interesting stories, and why. What about those questions were richer than the other questions? We concluded that the really rich questions led us to a background story that we didn't have, or that the book did not…