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ERIC Number: EJ768896
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2007-Mar
Pages: 3
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 1
ISSN: ISSN-0025-5785
Teaching and Learning through Problem Solving
Ollerton, Mike
Mathematics Teaching Incorporating Micromath, n201 p3-5 Mar 2007
In this article, the author relates some problem solving work with primary schools to Department for Children, Schools, and Families (DfES) support. In four primary schools in the West Midlands, the focus was teaching mathematics through problem solving, based on materials published on the DfES "standards" website. The author noticed the way problem solving was broken down into specific sections by DfES: (1) finding all the possibilities; (2) logic problems; (3) finding rules and describing patterns; (4) diagram problems and visual puzzles; and (5) word problems. Each section contains suggested problems to engage pupils with each of these aspects of problem solving. The author expresses concern about the prescribed way the materials are to be used, both in lessons and at staff meetings; yet as a way of bringing problem solving to the fore, this initiative is worth celebrating. In this article, he offers constructive ways forward and, at the same time, describes an interesting surprise event that occurred in a Key Stage 1 classroom. He suggests five key criteria involved in setting up problem solving situations. These are: (1) Developing pupils' content knowledge, (2) Finding accessible and puzzling problems; (3) Using "open" questions; (4) Extension tasks; and (5) Fostering independent learning. The author also advocates lessened insistence on speed, neatness, and structure in students' work.
Association of Teachers of Mathematics. Unit 7 Prime Industrial Park, Shaftesbury Street, Derby, DE23 8YB, UK. Tel: +44-1332-346599; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Primary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: United Kingdom (England)