Problem Solvers establish a problem and guide learners through the process of identifying or inventing a solution. A PowerPoint Sidekick problem solver might contain the following elements (slides).
- Provide a problem, situation, or scenario. Or, provide information (or a reading such as a book or online article) and ask students to identify the problem.
- Ask students to identify the elements of the problem, key questions, or most important ideas.
- Provide resources and assignments to help young people think about the problem in different ways such as audio, readings, video, charts and graphs, photographs, clipart.
- Show and tell how the problem was solved such as the steps in the process, events in the story, an outline of events, or an equation.
- Write a conclusion, answer, or solution.
- Create your own problem for others to solve.
Math Understandings: A Place to Think about Math
Examine your math curriculum. Look for connections with your social studies and science curriculum.
- Provide a story problem to solve. Consider audio-based problems as well as text-based problems.
- Ask students to color the key words or put arrows on the key words
- Provide visuals that can be used to illustrate the problem.
- When appropriate, use bubbles to have characters talk about the problem.
- Write an equation that solved the problem.
- Write a sentence telling the answer to the question.
- Example: Four children were playing ball. Two more children came to play. How many children were playing tag all together? The equation needed is 4+2=6.
- Example: There are six fish tanks in the store. Each tank has 4 fish. How many fish are there altogether? The equation needed is 6 x 4. There were twenty four fish altogether.
- Example: Katie made four cookies. She wants to put 2 M&M eyes on each cookie. How many M&Ms will she need? The equation needed is 4 x 2 = 8. Katie will need eight M&Ms.
Choose one of the following lessons. Or, go to Thinkfinity and search for a different topic. Adapt the idea for use as a PowerPoint Sidekick.
- PreK-2 Lesson Ideas
- Amazing Attributes (PreK-2)
- Comparing Connecting Cubes (PreK-2)
- Do it with Dominos (PreK-2)
- Links Away (PreK-2)
- Little Star's Problem (K-2)
- Giant Story Problems: Reading Comprehension through Math Problem Solving (K-2)
- Macaroni Math (Subtraction - PreK-2)
- Number Cents (PreK-2
- Where Will I Land? (Number Lines - PreK-2)
- 3-5 Lesson Ideas
- All About Multiplication (3-5)
- A Tales of Two Stories (3-5)
- Escaping Slavery: Sweet Clara and the Freedom Quilt (3-5)
- What If We Changed the Book? Problem-Posing with Sixteen Cows (3-5)
- Talking, Writing, and Reasoning: Making Thinking Visible with Math Journals (3-5)
- PreK-8 Lesson Ideas
- Topics: cell phone calls, magazines to buy, bike path to build, water in the fountain.
Mapping and Math
Combine mapping with math. Use Google Maps for the maps. Provide rulers (small rectangles labeled 1 mile = 5,280 feet) kids can move around on the screen to judge distances. There are 5,280 feet in one mile. If you walk the mini-marathon shown on the map, how many feet will you walk?
Science and social studies - Dilemmas... what should we do?
- Read two articles. Should we put these two animals together at the zoo? Why or why not?
Lessons to Adapt
- Read Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type by Dorian Cronin. Read the Uppity Farm Animals (K-4) lesson.
Create your own PowerPoint Sidekick Problem Solver.
Download and explore the Math Mystery (PPT) PowerPoint sidekick.
Paste the mystery photo in the center of the screen. Record your audio directions. Place the audio button next to the boy listening. Select the audio button and shift click to also select the boy listening. Right-click and Group these two objects. Move the Question button and enter the correct answer. Then re-cover the correct answer. Remember to tell students they can check their answer here.
Consider using Math tool website to create graphs, charts, or other problems for young people. Combine this activity with a practice website. Use the following resources for ideas: