Mike Town, one of Tesla STEM High School’s founding teachers, is a recipient of the Patsy Collins Award for Excellence in Education, Environment, and Community.
Problem Solving Challenge
Problem solving is a fundamental goal of any strong mathematics program. I am committed to support all EHS students to become problem solvers. It is never too early or too late to develop the real life learning skills of problem solving. Therefore, I would like to challenge EHS students to attack and solve all or some of the attached problems, to help them achieve this important goal.
Please celebrate their progress as they work through these problems!
Trials, errors, and retries are key attributes of good problem solvers. We ask you to encourage your students to persevere. Many students might want to initially give up. The best support for your student is encouragement through good questions. Some good questions are: What have you tried?, Why do you think it doesn’t work?, Have you tried to make the problem simpler?, What do you need to know to be able to solve the problem?. There are many other good questions; however leading or guiding questions are not helpful. The process of finding and understanding a solution outweighs the benefit of having a correct answer. Doing the problem for the student actually hurts the problem solving process. Many students will receive the hidden message that they can’t solve problems by themselves and, will learn to stop and wait for someone else to answer.
You will play an important role in supporting your child’s work on these problems. Students are asked to complete a write-up of their findings. Students should communicate how they went about solving the problem as well as the solution they found. This write up helps students understand how they think and approach new problems.
I look forward to a partnership with you around problem solving. Thank you for supporting your child.
Math teacher, EHS