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Open-Ended Math Problems

By Gwenn Holtz and Mary Lee Malen
This site is for the specific purpose of preparing Middle School students for OPEN-ENDED problem solving on is divided into five strands:
• Number Theory
• Measurement
• Geometry
• Patterns, Algebra, and Functions
• Data, Statistics, and Probability
There are three levels of difficulty for each standard with problems from different sources that lend themselves to more than one way of solving. To better prepare for the tests, students should answer with a picture, diagram, or paragraph explaining the solution and how they determined their answers.

Curriculum Information For Resource

 Snapshot Grade Level(s): 6, 7, 8 Curriculum Areas: Mathematics Themes/Keywords: Analysis Word Problems

Essential Question(s)
 1 It's important for students to track their reasoning while solving problems. How do you teach reasoning? How can you convince your students that the process is often more valuable than the answer?

Discussion Question(s)
 1 How can you best prepare your middle school students for high school math? 2 Middle school students often look for shortcuts. Are there shortcuts in solving word problems?

Extension and Activities
 1 Begin the year with September problems and follow the process for four weeks. Do you see an improvement in the way your students solve problems? Do your students see value in how they have been solving problems and will they like to continue? Do you agree?

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