Have you ever worked on problem-solving in the class and when you ask a child how did they get that answer they reply ‘I just did!!’.
I try and encourage more discussion in my class for problem-solving so they can recognise language and strategies to use too. I have been using the Problem-Solving Strategies and Skills Cards from Prim-Ed with my Senior Classes over the last few weeks and we all have really enjoyed them.
There are 3 boxes in the series, Number and Algebra, Measurement and Geometry and Statistics and Chance. Each box contains 30 problem-solving cards, a process card, strategy cards and much needed answer cards. They are available from 1st class right up to 6th class. More information on the cards can be found here.
In my own class I let 5th and 6th work together and give each pair a card to solve, on one side there is a problem to solve but there is also extension activities on the other side for those who might solve the problems quicker. We started with 5th class cards initially, again the language was challenging but I explained that language like that on the cards would be used a lot more next year for 6th class.
The children worked together to solve the problem, then we reported back to the class. We put the card under the visualiser for everyone to see and then used some ‘thinking time’ before the pair explained how they solved it. I also allowed some feedback and other solutions from the class before moving on to the next card.
I use ‘thinking time’ a lot in the classroom, I found the same children were putting their hand up and shouting out answers and for others they became reluctant to even try as they felt they wouldn’t be fast enough. through using thinking time it allowed all students time to think without shouting out or knowing others were already waving their hands at me. The more thinking time they got, the more hands went up at the end.
Overall I really liked using these cards, I intend to incorporate them into my daily routine next year. I particularly like the chance cards as this topic is often towards the end of the book, but through using the cards throughout the year the children will become more familiar with the language of chance before meeting the topic later in the year.
These cards encourage children to approach problem-solving in a variety of ways. Children also recognise specific language easier when they see it repeated in different cards. I think these cards are well worth the investment for your classroom and I look forward to using them more in September.
It you would like more information on any of these cards please send me a PM.