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The Lean Post / Articles / What does “daily problem solving” really look like in practice?

## What does “daily problem solving” really look like in practice?

By Michael Ballé

July 11, 2016

Dear Gemba Coach: I hear the phrase “daily problem solving” a lot. But what does it really mean in practice and how does it work?

Dear Gemba Coach,

I hear the phrase “daily problem solving ” a lot. But what does it really mean in practice and how does it work ? Are we making improvements – changes – to work every day, including standard work; do we check with co-workers and supervisors daily on our changes?

There are two main ways of looking at this: (1) do I solve all problems daily so that, in the end, the process works perfectly or (2) do I use problem solving as a device to teach frontline staff more about their work so that less problems appear?

To put this in context, my father used to insist, at the plant manager level that fighting fires was part of the plant manager’s job – if he couldn’t do that, sooner or later, he’d get replaced. BUT the more fires you fight, the more fires will appear . So you’ve got to develop people’s ability to solve their own problems so that less fires get started. A highbrow way of saying that is the organizational capability of having less fires depends on the individual competence in avoiding starting fires in the first places or solving things when they’re very small fires – or, to use another expression I learned by a sensei , focus on the buds of problems, before they flower .

Sine we’re talking about the old days, Shigeo Shingo used to show that much of quality control is really issuing “death certificates” – the problem has already occurred and we’re trying to pull the body out of the flow of the living. The question is how to avoid the situation in the first place. Because experts can’t be on call everywhere all the time, the only logistically sound solution is to turn everyone into an expert.

Self-Directed Training

How do we do that? By seeing problem solving as a training technique, rather than seeing it as a, well, problem-solving techniques . We don’t want to fix every problem. We want to teach every person to better understand their job, and make sure the problem doesn’t occur in the first place. We want them to be autonomous in their problem solving which means:

- Do not walk past the bud of the problem without stopping and correcting the situation. The classical Chinese image is not walking past a child leaning into a well without holding them back. (At work, probably the hardest part, because in well-structured, process-oriented organizations, everyone thinks someone else should deal with the problem)
- Know how to solve a typical problem in a large variety of situations . The “one best way” rarely fits all situations and problem solving is highly contextual. Autonomy means solving the problem in making the outcome actually better, not going through the motions to find that, in the end, matters are worse.
- Know when to flag the issue because the fire has started to burn and it will soon become a raging blaze. This is much harder than it looks because most workplaces are set up to shoot the messenger, dismiss unfavorable information and never distract the boss from his or her wishful thinking. It takes a “problem first” culture, and clear understanding of the role of middle management to fight the natural tendency to sweep the issue under the rug and walk away hoping that no one has noticed we were the first on the scene.

As you can see, these are both cognitive (actual problem solving) and non-cognitive skills (the attitude to problems), which both need to be taught, and, since teaching it is hard, taught daily – hence the daily problem solving .

In this sense, daily problem solving means looking into one problem a day, not with the hope of solving all problems, but with the hope of learning more about our job (and our standards), every day.

For this to work, we need to realize that the problem solving structure – the PDCA , the A3 8-boxes, etc. – is nothing more (or less) than scaffolding to support problem solving. The aim is not to tick the boxes, but to get a better observation and discussion about the issue, which means getting closer to the “point of process,” the point where the tool (whether a computer system or a drill, or a press, etc.) hits the part, and the quality of the value add, compared to standards.

Observation and discussion of one problem a day (What is the point of cause? How do our standards help or hinder? What is the smart way to deal with this situation?) will progressively hone your mental model of what matters and what doesn’t in the normal situation, and so build from your experience and into your experience the orientation points needed to do the job well –and avoid future problems of the same sort.

Let’s look at this Toyota 5 why exercise:

The conclusion here is that racks should be designed so that the option specification sheet is in full view at the moment that parts are picked.

This means that we’ve learned a new point to be careful of when looking at how racks are set up on lines to make work easier for operators. With this in mind, the next line can be either kaizened in this way, or designed so the situation does not arise. The problem solving has led to reusable knowledge that will make this problem not occur again. And there, is the win.

Proof of Respect

To my mind, daily problem solving is indeed about sharing with supervisor and team how one person has solved one problem today (each day, one quick description of how one problem has been solved). The supervisor can ask all others to check their standards on the matter, and keep topics fresh in their minds. The engineering Toyota phrase I keep in mind is “80 points + alpha” – the 80 points one has to get right daily and the alpha improvement to do things a bit better. Daily problem solving is the opportunity to both (1) check the standards we need to have in mind (there are often so many that taking problems as an opportunity to revisit standards is important) and (2) the small plus to understand better the work from both the customer and employee point of view.

If we do this day in day out, we will find that performance increases because fires disappear, and that engagement increases as people feel more self-confident about both their work and working with their colleagues, other team members and supervisors. Daily problem solving is a proof of respect.

Written by:

About Michael Ballé

Michael Ballé is co-author of The Gold Mine, a best-selling business novel of lean turnaround, and recently The Lean Manager, a novel of lean transformation, both published by the Lean Enterprise Institute. For the past 25 years, he has studied lean transformation and helped companies develop a lean culture. He is…

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## The Common Core State Standards

Art of Problem Solving courses are not designed to align to the Common Core State Standards ( CCSS ). However, we have many students who have easily replaced CCSS-aligned classes using our coursework. Our curriculum covers all of the Common Core Practices. Each of our classes also covers most or all of the Standards covered in the corresponding class from a CCSS-aligned school (and a good deal more!).

We've compiled some information below to help students and their schools choose the best possible education plan.

## On this page

- What Is The Common Core?

## Differences Between AoPS and the CCSS

Common core coverage, what is the common core.

The Common Core State Standards are a collection of Standards for Mathematical Practice combined with a collection of Standards for Mathematical Content. You can find the Common Core here .

## Standards for Mathematical Practice

The Standards for Mathematical Practice ( Practices ) are eight general pedagogical goals suggested for all mathematical education:

- Make sense of problems and persevere in solving them.
- Reason abstractly and quantitatively.
- Construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others.
- Model with Mathematics.
- Use appropriate tools strategically.
- Attend to precision.
- Look for and make use of structure.
- Look for and express regularity in repeated reasoning.
- Make sense of problems and persevere in solving them : AoPS does not believe that math is memorizing Trick A to solve Problem A and Trick B for Problem B. Problem solving is about understanding the problem, weighing the possible approaches, and deciding which is the best strategy for solving it. Sometimes the path is not apparent, and sometimes what at first seemed like a promising start needs to be rethought. A good problem solver has the tenacity to work through these obstacles.
- Reason abstractly and quantitatively and Model with Mathematics : Part of problem solving is the ability to translate the problem description into mathematical symbols. At the same time, it is important for students to not treat equations as a series of symbols to be manipulated but understand what their equations mean in the context of the mathematical concepts and the problem. To understand problems deeply, a mathematician needs to be able to follow paths of context and abstraction simultaneously.
- Construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others , Use appropriate tools strategically and Attend to precision : Many traditional schools only discuss proofs in Geometry class, and only in simplistic terms. AoPS integrates proof-writing—having the students construct rigorous logical arguments and communicate their ideas clearly—starting from our Prealgebra courses. Each week in our subject series courses, students have one or more free response writing problems. Student responses are human-graded and receive feedback on their solution, including their ability to communicate mathematically. Students learn to construct and analyze mathematical arguments in our classroom as well, where we make the students do all the work .
- Look for and make use of structure and Look for and express regularity in repeated reasoning : Recognizing patterns is an important problem solving strategy. AoPS students learn by studying relevant problems and generalizing their ideas into the underlying principles. This requires dissecting each problem into its constituent pieces and their connective structures. This also requires finding common principles inside different problems and finding ways to extract those principles and use them on the current problem or on problems down the road.

## Standards for Mathematical Content

Traditional schools and the Common Core are generally concerned with getting students through the typical four-year high school curriculum, in a large part to prepare them for college-level Calculus. Art of Problem Solving serves high-performing students who learn at a faster pace and can handle more complex cognitive tasks. These students are not stretched by the traditional curriculum, so they do not grow to their full potential. They need more intellectual stimulation.

One way AoPS addresses this is by including advanced topics in Algebra and Geometry that do not appear on the Common Core State Standards. The AoPS curriculum also includes courses in discrete math, namely counting and number theory, which also are not part of the Common Core or standard high school curricula. For example, our Introductory and Intermediate Counting & Probability and Number Theory courses do not contain many Standards because much of their material lies outside the Common Core. This omission in the CCSS is unfortunate since discrete math is a key part of college-level math and the mathematics of programming, and students who have a background in these fields will have a significant advantage in those majors and in the real world. These might be the most applicable skills our students learn in their high school careers.

Furthermore, counting and number theory are accessible fields where students can further their mathematical reasoning and proof techniques. The traditional curriculum generally teaches students many tools to apply to specific straightforward problems, again in large part because the school is in a rush to provide the student all the prerequisites to enroll in Calculus. But this is not what mathematics is about. Our philosophy is to teach students problem solving which, in contrast, is about taking the tools they have and applying them to solve complex problems. Real life will throw students many problems they have not specifically been trained to solve, and the students with stronger problem solving skills will be better positioned to tackle these problems. Learning discrete math, in addition to expanding the students' horizons, gives them the opportunity to develop problem solving skills before moving onto more complex topics.

The other major difference between the Common Core State Standards and the Art of Problem Solving curriculum is the treatment of Statistics. AoPS currently does not have a Statistics course. Several AoPS courses cover standards regarding probability, specifically using problems where student calculate probabilities to illustrate interesting applications of counting techniques and geometric probability. Many Common Core standards regarding interpreting data and justifying conclusions are not covered by AoPS courses at this time. If a student is using an AoPS course to skip a class in a traditional school, she may need to spend a couple of days in the school library reading through the statistics chapter of her local textbook.

- The Common Core grades 6-8 contain numerous standards involving 3-dimensional shapes. The Geometry component in AoPS Prealgebra 2 is closer to a traditional Euclidean plane geometry course, where students apply geometric properties to solve problems. AoPS discusses 3-dimensional geometry first in its Beast Academy 5A curriculum and then defers until Introduction to Geometry , where students can extend their mastery of 2-dimensional geometry to reason about 3-dimensional configurations. We reach the depth expected in the CCSS in our 5A explorations and then wait on the material until students have the tools to solve more complex problems instead of learning extra forumulas earlier.
- The Common Core uses geometric transformations—dilation, reflection, rotation, and translation—to define congruence and similarity. In contrast, AoPS uses an informal definition of congruence and similarity that utilizes the students' intuition, saving transformations for later in the Introduction to Geometry course. AoPS also discusses geometric transformations in Precalculus using the tools of complex numbers and vectors.
- Also, AoPS and the Common Core emphasize different aspects of the Expressions & Equations domains in grades 6-8. The Common Core uses the coordinate plane to connect concepts in ratios, expressions, and geometry that deal with linear equations and their graphs. AoPS does not cover the graphs of linear equations until the high school-level Introduction to Algebra A course. Similarly, the grade 8 Functions domain and standards regarding systems of linear equations are taught in Algebra, where we can provide a more rigorous treatment. Instead, the Common Core high school cluster A.SSE (Algebra: Seeing Structure in Expressions) is pushed forward into AoPS Prealgebra as it is an important problem solving skill when manipulating algebraic expressions.

The following tables describe which AoPS courses cover the various Common Core content standards. You can find similar information for our courses in each Course Syllabus .

Number and Quantity | Intro Alg A | Intro Alg B | Intro NT | Intro CP | Intro Geo | Interm Alg | Precalc |
---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|

The Real Number System: Extend The Properties Of Exponents To Rational Exponents, Use Properties Of Rational And Irrational Numbers | |||||||

RN.1 | RN.1 | ||||||

RN.2 | RN.2 | ||||||

Quantities: Reason Quantitatively And Use Units To Solve Problems | |||||||

Q .1 | Q .1 | ||||||

Q .2 | Q .2 | ||||||

The Complex Number System: Perform Arithmetic Operations With Complex Numbers, Represent Complex Numbers And Their Operations On The Complex Plane, Use Complex Numbers In Polynomial Identities And Equations | |||||||

CN.1 | CN.1 | ||||||

CN.2 | CN.2 | ||||||

CN.4 | |||||||

CN.5 | |||||||

CN.6 | |||||||

CN.7 | CN.7 | CN.7 | CN.7 | ||||

CN.8 | CN.8 | CN.8 | CN.8 | ||||

CN.9 | CN.9 | CN.9 | CN.9 | ||||

Represent And Model With Vector Quantities, Perform Operations On Vectors, Perform Operations On Matrices And Use Matrices In Applications | |||||||

VM.1 | |||||||

VM.2 | |||||||

VM.3 | |||||||

VM.4 | |||||||

VM.4.a | |||||||

VM.4.b | |||||||

VM.4.c | |||||||

VM.5 | |||||||

VM.5.a | |||||||

VM.5.b | |||||||

VM.6 | |||||||

VM.7 | |||||||

VM.8 | |||||||

VM.9 | |||||||

VM.10 | |||||||

VM.11 | |||||||

VM.12 |

Algebra | Intro Alg A | Intro Alg B | Intro NT | Intro CP | Intro Geo | Interm Alg | Precalc |
---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|

The Real Number System: Interpret The Structure Of Expressions, Write Expressions In Equivalent Forms To Solve Problems | |||||||

SSE.1 | SSE.1 | ||||||

SSE.1.a | SSE.1.a | ||||||

SSE.1.b | SSE.1.b | SSE.1.b | |||||

SSE.2 | SSE.2 | ||||||

SSE.3 | SSE.3 | ||||||

SSE.3.a | SSE.3.a | SSE.3.a | SSE.3.a | ||||

SSE.3.b | SSE.3.b | SSE.3.b | |||||

SSE.3.c | SSE.3.c | ||||||

SSE.4 | |||||||

Arithmetic With Polynomials And Rational Expressions: Perform Arithmetic Operations On Polynomials, Understand The Relationship Between Zeros And Factors Of Polynomials, Use Polynomial Identities To Solve Problems, Rewrite Rational Expressions | |||||||

APR.1 | APR.1 | APR.1 | APR.1 | ||||

APR.2 | APR.2 | ||||||

APR.3 | APR.3 | ||||||

APR.4 | APR.4 | ||||||

APR.5 | APR.5 | APR.5 | |||||

APR.6 | |||||||

APR.7 | |||||||

Creating Equations: Create Equations That Describe Numbers Or Relationships | |||||||

CED.1 | CED.1 | ||||||

CED.2 | |||||||

CED.4 | CED.4 | ||||||

Understand Solving Equations As A Process Of Reasoning And Explain The Reasoning, Solve Equations And Inequalities In One Variable, Solve Systems Of Equations, Represent And Solve Equations And Inequalities Graphically | |||||||

REI.1 | REI.1 | ||||||

REI.2 | REI.2 | REI.2 | |||||

REI.3 | REI.3 | ||||||

REI.4 | REI.4 | ||||||

REI.4.a | REI.4.a | REI.4.a | |||||

REI.4.b | REI.4.b | ||||||

REI.5 | |||||||

REI.6 | REI.6 | ||||||

REI.7 | REI.7 | ||||||

REI.8 | |||||||

REI.9 | |||||||

REI.10 | |||||||

REI.11 | |||||||

REI.12 | REI.12 |

Functions | Intro Alg A | Intro Alg B | Intro NT | Intro CP | Intro Geo | Interm Alg | Precalc |
---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|

The Real Number System: Understand The Concept Of A Function And Use Function Notation, Interpret Functions That Arise In Applications In Terms Of The Context, Analyze Functions Using Different Representations | |||||||

IF.1 | IF.1 | IF.1 | |||||

IF.2 | IF.2 | ||||||

IF.3 | IF.3 | ||||||

IF.4 | IF.4 | IF.4 | IF.4 | ||||

IF.5 | IF.5 | IF.5 | IF.5 | ||||

IF.6 | |||||||

IF.7 | IF.7 | IF.7 | IF.7 | ||||

IF.7.a | IF.7.a | IF.7.a | |||||

IF.7.b | IF.7.b | IF.7.b | |||||

IF.7.c | |||||||

IF.7.d | |||||||

IF.7.e | IF.7.e | ||||||

IF.8 | IF.8 | IF.8 | |||||

IF.8.a | IF.8.a | ||||||

IF.8.b | |||||||

IF.9 | IF.9 | IF.9 | |||||

Building Functions: Build A Function That Models A Relationship Between Two Quantities, Build New Functions From Existing Functions | |||||||

BF.1 | BF.1 | ||||||

BF.1.a | BF.1.a | ||||||

BF.1.b | BF.1.b | BF.1.b | |||||

BF.1.c | BF.1.c | BF.1.c | BF.1.c | ||||

BF.2 | |||||||

BF.3 | BF.3 | ||||||

BF.4 | BF.4 | ||||||

BF.4.a | BF.4.a | BF.4.a | BF.4.a | ||||

BF.4.b | BF.4.b | ||||||

BF.4.c | BF.4.c | ||||||

BF.4.d | |||||||

BF.5 | |||||||

Linear, Quadratic, And Exponential Models: Construct And Compare Linear, Quadratic, And Exponential Models And Solve Problems, Interpret Expressions For Functions In Terms Of The Situation They Model | |||||||

LE.1 | |||||||

LE.1.a | |||||||

LE.1.b | |||||||

LE.1.c | |||||||

LE.2 | |||||||

LE.3 | |||||||

LE.4 | |||||||

LE.5 | LE.5 | LE.5 | |||||

Extend The Domain Of Trigonometric Functions Using The Unit Circle, Model Periodic Phenomena With Trigonometric Functions, Prove And Apply Trigonometric Identities | |||||||

TF.1 | |||||||

TF.2 | |||||||

TF.3 | |||||||

TF.4 | |||||||

TF.5 | TF.5 | ||||||

TF.6 | TF.6 | ||||||

TF.7 | |||||||

TF.8 | TF.8 | ||||||

TF.9 | TF.9 |

Geometry | Intro Alg A | Intro Alg B | Intro NT | Intro CP | Intro Geo | Interm Alg | Precalc |
---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|

The Real Number System: Experiment With Transformations In The Plane, Understand Congruence In Terms Of Rigid Motions, Prove Geometric Theorems, Make Geometric Constructions | |||||||

CO.2 | |||||||

CO.3 | |||||||

CO.4 | |||||||

CO.5 | |||||||

CO.6 | |||||||

Similarity, Right Triangles, And Trigonometry: Understand Similarity In Terms Of Similarity Transformations, Prove Theorems Involving Similarity, Define Trigonometric Ratios And Solve Problems Involving Right Triangles, Apply Trigonometry To General Triangles | |||||||

SRT.7 | |||||||

SRT.8 | |||||||

SRT.9 | |||||||

SRT.10 | |||||||

SRT.11 | |||||||

Expressing Geometric Properties With Equations: Translate Between The Geometric Description And The Equation For A Conic Section, Use Coordinates To Prove Simple Geometric Theorems Algebraically | |||||||

GPE.1 | |||||||

GPE.2 | |||||||

GPE.3 | |||||||

GPE.5 | GPE.5 | ||||||

GPE.6 | GPE.6 | ||||||

Apply Geometric Concepts In Modeling Situations | |||||||

MG.2 | MG.2 |

Statistics and Probability | Intro Alg A | Intro Alg B | Intro NT | Intro CP | Intro Geo | Interm Alg | Precalc |
---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|

Conditional Probability And The Rules Of Probability: Understand Independence And Conditional Probability And Use Them To Interpret Data, Use The Rules Of Probability To Compute Probabilities Of Compound Events In A Uniform Probability Model | |||||||

CP.2 | |||||||

CP.9 | |||||||

Calculate Expected Values And Use Them To Solve Problems, Use Probability To Evaluate Outcomes Of Decisions | |||||||

MD.2 | |||||||

MD.5.a | |||||||

MD.6 |

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## 25 Exciting Hands on Math Activities for Elementary

Engaging elementary students in hands on math activities is a fantastic way to foster a deeper understanding of mathematical concepts while making learning enjoyable.

These activities not only make math come alive but also encourage active participation and critical thinking.

By incorporating hands-on experiences, educators can create an enriching learning environment that sets a strong foundation for future mathematical success.

We will explore a variety of creative and effective hands on math activities for elementary students, ensuring that the learning process is both fun and educational.

## Math Manipulative Creations: Building Geometric Shapes

One exciting hands-on math activity for elementary students involves using math manipulatives like building blocks or interlocking cubes to create various geometric shapes. Start by introducing basic shapes like squares, rectangles, triangles, and circles. Then, challenge students to use the manipulatives to construct these shapes on their own. As they become more comfortable, encourage them to combine shapes to form more complex figures, such as making a hexagon from triangles or a parallelogram from rectangles. This activity not only reinforces shape recognition but also enhances spatial awareness and problem-solving skills.

## Fraction Beach: Sandbox Exploration of Fractions

Create a tactile learning experience with a Fraction Beach activity. Fill a large sandbox with sand and divide it into sections representing different fractions. Students can use shovels, buckets, and other tools to manipulate the sand, creating visual representations of fractions. This hands-on approach offers a unique way for students to grasp the concept of fractions as parts of a whole.

## Fraction Pizza Party: Understanding Fractions through Play

Fractions can be a challenging concept for elementary students to grasp, but a Fraction Pizza Party activity can make it more accessible and enjoyable. Provide students with circular paper cutouts resembling pizza slices. Ask them to divide the slice into different fractions, such as halves, thirds, and quarters, using markers or colored pencils. Then, they can decorate each slice to represent the fraction they’ve created. This hands-on approach allows students to visualize fractions and comprehend their relationship to a whole, transforming abstract ideas into tangible concepts. Related: 20 Creative Math Door Decoration Ideas

## Shape Hunt Scavenger Hunt: Exploring Geometry in the Environment

Take math learning beyond the classroom with a Shape Hunt Scavenger Hunt. This activity involves going outdoors or exploring different areas of the school to identify and categorize various shapes in the environment. Provide students with a list of shapes to find, such as squares, circles, rectangles, and triangles. They can document their discoveries by taking photos or drawing sketches of the objects they find. Not only does this activity reinforce shape recognition, but it also encourages students to see the relevance of math in their surroundings.

## Money Math Market: Applying Real-life Math Skills

Teaching elementary students about money can be both practical and enjoyable through a Money Math Market activity. Set up a pretend market with various items labeled with price tags. Give students play money and have them shop for items, making calculations of their purchases and finding the total cost. This hands-on experience helps students understand the value of different coins and bills, as well as practice addition and subtraction in a real-world context. It also promotes financial literacy from an early age.

## Measurement Olympics: Exploring Length, Weight, and Volume

Host a Measurement Olympics to help elementary students grasp the concepts of length, weight, and volume in a playful way. Set up various stations where students can measure objects using rulers, scales, and measuring cups. They can compare the lengths of different items, weigh objects, and pour liquids into containers to understand volume. This activity not only enhances their measurement skills but also encourages them to apply mathematical reasoning to real-world scenarios.

## Tangram Teasers: Puzzling with Shapes and Spatial Relationships

Tangrams are a fantastic tool to develop spatial reasoning and geometry skills in elementary students. Provide each student with a set of tangram pieces – seven flat shapes that can be combined to form various figures. Challenge students to recreate specific shapes, animals, or objects using the tangram pieces. This activity promotes critical thinking, problem-solving, and spatial visualization while engaging students in a creative puzzle-solving adventure.

## Math Board Games: Learning Through Play

Engage elementary students in the world of board games that are designed to teach and reinforce mathematical concepts. Games like “Monopoly,” “Chutes and Ladders,” and “Uno” can be adapted to incorporate math challenges. Students roll dice, draw cards, or spin spinners, answering math questions or performing calculations as part of the game mechanics. This approach blends learning with leisure, making math more enjoyable and interactive. Related: 20 Helpful Grief Activities for Elementary Students

## Pattern Play: Unveiling the Magic of Patterns

Patterns are everywhere, and the Pattern Play activity helps elementary students discover the magic behind them. Begin with simple patterns of colors, shapes, or numbers, and let students continue the sequence. Gradually increase the complexity of the patterns as they become more confident. This activity hones pattern recognition skills and lays the foundation for understanding more intricate mathematical concepts, such as algebraic patterns and sequences.

## Geometry in Art: Creating Symmetrical Masterpieces

Merge math and art with the Geometry in Art activity, where students explore symmetry and geometric shapes to design their own masterpieces. Provide them with drawing materials and guide them to create symmetrical images by drawing on one side and reflecting the design on the other. This activity not only encourages creativity but also reinforces concepts like line symmetry and geometric transformations, showcasing the beautiful intersection of math and artistic expression.

## Time Travel Adventure: Learning with Elapsed Time

Help elementary students grasp the concept of elapsed time through a Time Travel Adventure. Present them with scenarios involving different start and end times, and ask them to calculate the duration in hours and minutes. You can use real-life scenarios like planning a day’s activities or calculating travel times between destinations. This activity strengthens students’ time-telling skills and develops their understanding of time intervals.

## Math Storytelling: Numbers and Narratives

Combine math and literacy with the Math Storytelling activity, where students create their own mathematical stories. Encourage them to invent characters, settings, and situations that involve mathematical concepts. They can use addition, subtraction, multiplication, or division to solve problems within their stories. Sharing their stories not only nurtures their creative skills but also reinforces their understanding of mathematical operations in a meaningful context.

## Math Puzzles and Riddles: Brain-Teasing Challenges

Engage elementary students’ critical thinking skills with Math Puzzles and Riddles. Provide them with age-appropriate puzzles that require logical reasoning and mathematical insights to solve. These puzzles can range from number sequences and logic puzzles to classic riddles with mathematical twists. The challenge of cracking these brain-teasers makes math enjoyable and encourages students to think outside the box.

## Fractional Kitchen: Exploring Fractions in Cooking

Bringing fractions into the kitchen creates an interactive and delicious learning experience. Organize a Fractional Kitchen activity where students follow recipes and use measuring cups and spoons to prepare dishes. As they measure ingredients like flour, sugar, and liquids, they gain a tangible understanding of fractions in a practical context. This activity bridges the gap between abstract fractions and real-life applications.

## Math Around the World: Exploring Cultural Numerical Systems

Expose elementary students to the diversity of numerical systems with the Math Around the World activity. Introduce them to various counting systems used in different cultures, such as Roman numerals or the Mayan number system. Allow them to explore these systems by representing numbers and performing basic calculations. This activity fosters cultural awareness while deepening students’ appreciation for the universality of mathematical principles.

## Math Art Gallery: Graphing Coordinate Plane Creations

Transform the concept of graphing on a coordinate plane into an artistic endeavor with a Math Art Gallery activity. Provide students with a set of coordinates and guide them to plot points on graph paper. As they connect the dots, intricate designs and images will emerge. This activity allows students to explore the relationship between numbers, coordinates, and visual representations, enhancing their graphing skills in an engaging way.

## Math Jeopardy: Interactive Review Game

Elevate the excitement of reviewing math concepts by playing Math Jeopardy. Create a game board with different categories and point values related to the curriculum. Divide students into teams and take turns choosing questions from the board. Students must solve the presented problems within a specified time frame to earn points. Math Jeopardy not only reinforces learning but also promotes friendly competition and collaboration among students.

## Math-Inspired Building: Exploring Geometry with Construction

Combine engineering and mathematics with a Math-Inspired Building activity. Provide students with materials like toothpicks, marshmallows, or straws, and challenge them to create geometric shapes or structures using their imagination. This hands-on experience helps them understand concepts like angles, symmetry, and stability, all while fostering creativity and hands-on problem-solving skills.

## Math Mysteries: Solving Interactive Math Whodunits

Engage elementary students in mathematical detective work with Math Mysteries. Present them with scenarios where they must solve mathematical clues to uncover the answers. These mysteries can involve a range of math topics, from solving equations to deciphering patterns. As students work through the clues, they not only sharpen their math skills but also enjoy the thrill of solving puzzles.

## Math in Nature: Outdoor Exploration of Patterns and Shapes

Nature is a treasure trove of mathematical inspiration. Take students on an outdoor exploration to discover Math in Nature. Observe patterns in leaves, petals, and seeds. Look for symmetry in butterfly wings or geometric shapes in rock formations. Encourage students to document their findings through sketches or photographs. This activity fosters a deeper connection between math and the world around us while encouraging curiosity and observation skills. Related: 100 Fun Questions Of The Day for Elementary Students

## Recommended:

- 25 Teeth Brushing Activities for Preschoolers
- 24 Fun Literacy Activities for Preschoolers
- 23 Fun Shark Activities for Preschoolers

## Sohaib Hasan Shah

Sohaib's journey includes 10+ years of teaching and counseling experience at BCSS School in elementary and middle schools, coupled with a BBA (Hons) with a minor in Educational Psychology from Curtin University (Australia) . In his free time, he cherishes quality moments with his family, reveling in the joys and challenges of parenthood. His three daughters have not only enriched his personal life but also deepened his understanding of the importance of effective education and communication, spurring him to make a meaningful impact in the world of education.

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## 9 Fun And Engaging Math Problem Solving Activities Your Students Will Enjoy

Are you looking for math problem solving activities that are fun and engaging? Then continue reading on! I will be sharing with you 9 fun math problem solving activities that you can use in your class.

## What are mathematics problem-solving activities?

According to the National Council Of Teachers Of Mathematics, Mathematics problem solving refers to mathematical tasks that have the potential to provide intellectual challenges for enhancing students’ mathematical understanding and development.

Problem-solving is a skill that we try to teach to our students in math class. A lot of times we will use word problems as problem-solving tasks. But there are actually more activities that do not involve story problems.

You can use these problem-solving activities as a lesson themselves, math starters, review, fast finishers, with small groups or a large group.

## 9 Fun Math Problem Solving Activities

Students often dread doing math word problems and tasks that are challenging. And forcing them down their throat is not the long-term solution as it can lead to math anxiety.

There must be a better way!

And the solution is…to find a fun way to tackle them!

Here is a list of 9 different ways to do problem-solving tasks. And I even gave some educational materials that you can grab if you are interested to use them in your class.

- Online Word Problems Practice
- Short Video
- Non-Routine Word Problems
- Hands-On Math Problem Solving Activities
- Math Puzzles
- Mystery Puzzles
- Scavenger Hunt
- Digital Treasure Hunt
- Escape Room

## 1) Online Word Problems Practice

Children love to go online. So by giving them a chance to play with the tablet or computer, they will already be more interested in the task on hand than usual.

Consider the digital interactive task cards available on the Boom Learning site. They are often self-checking and require no preparation. This means they do not require much time from you and students can accomplish the mathematical practice independently.

Furthermore, if you assign the Boom Cards to students, you can look through the reports of your student’s progress and results.

These digital versions of word problems not only add a bit more fun to them but also help to develop a deeper understanding of mathematical concepts.

## 2) Short Video

Video provides a multisensory experience that helps to capture students’ attention. It is also great for memory retention and can enhance their learning experience.

## A) Show short videos that help them build their problem-solving skills.

For example, matchstick puzzle examples.

Related read: 3 Free Math Puzzles With Answer For You To Enjoy This Summer

## B) Show them videos that teach them math skills or review math skills.

This can be just a short review or a math hook for more math practice.

Related read: 5 Hooks For Math Lessons That Will Engage Your Students Easily & Quickly

## C) Show them a real-life problem and ask them to solve it using math.

Linking math to a real-life issue can always help to make math lessons more exciting.

You can show them an existing issue and let them brainstorm on how to solve them. How can we use our math knowledge or other knowledge to solve it? (Sounds familiar? Consider project-based learning.)

Or you can show how real-life problems were solved due to our knowledge of math. Will they be the next mathematicians that make an impact on the world?

## 3) Non-Routine Word Problems

What is more challenging and interesting than word problems? It’s non-routine word problems!

They can be tricky and require different problem-solving strategies than the usual problem-solving approach.

It requires some critical thinking to get to the correct answer. Sometimes there may also be different solutions to these challenging problems.

## 4) Hands-On Math Problem Solving Activities

By incorporating hands-on activities with word problems, word problems look more attractive now!

Furthermore, kinesthetic learners will benefit greatly from math craft or math craftivity. Hands-on activities are engaging.

Be aware of the suitability of the craft as young children or older students may require different sets of activities. One way to differentiate is by grade level.

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## 5) Math Puzzles

There are many types of math puzzles. For example, logic puzzles, sudoku puzzles, and magic squares.

These math puzzles can help build logical reasoning.

## 6) Mystery Puzzles

Students get to practice rigorous word problems and develop a deep conceptual understanding with these mystery puzzles!

Students now have to solve word problems to know which are the correct clues.

Furthermore, these worksheets are differentiated which means students of different standards can also utilize them. There are different culprits for the different sets which means students can do all of them if needed.

## 7) Scavenger Hunt

Scavenger hunts are great movement activities for students. However, to incorporate word problems with a scavenger hunt, I would prefer to use them for lower elementary students.

That’s because word problems for lower grades are usually shorter and require less time to solve.

After all, if students have to stand for very long at a spot, it lowers the fun factors of the scavenger hunts.

## 8) Digital Treasure Hunt

Treasure hunt is similar to a scavenger hunt. But what I have in mind for you is a digital treasure hunt that requires students to solve word problems prior to “digging” the spot.

These digital versions of treasure hunting help you save some hassle but still engage students.

## 9) Escape Room

Escape room is great for practicing problem solving skills as it usually includes a variety of problems and puzzles. The types of problems will vary, depending on the creator. So choose the ones that suit your students’ needs.

Some elaborate escape rooms let students practice decision-making skills, collaboration skills, spatial reasoning, logical reasoning, deductive reasoning, and/or a variety of mathematical knowledge.

Of course, we can always stick to the less fussy way and make students solve logic problems.

## Final Thoughts

To make math problem-solving activity fun and engaging, the questions must be either interesting enough or within the student’s ability.

The fun part of any puzzle is always those that we can solve if we think harder or out of the box.

If it is too hard, students will get discouraged very soon and all of us will not meet our goals.

However, we also need to develop students’ growth mindset so that even if they can’t solve complex tasks, they will have the correct mindset facing their “failure”.

Hopefully, by using these ideas and tips mentioned above, your class will start looking forward to problem-solving activities. And we can also start looking forward to an increase in their math abilities and test scores!

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## Other Posts

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If you are looking for international dot day math activities to create meaningful and engaging learning experiences, then continue to read on! In this blog…

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## Small Group Math Activities

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- Math Stations

Discover small group math activities that promote student engagement and foster a love for math. This blog post explores 10 activities, including math games, hands-on manipulatives, real-world investigations, technology tools, problem solving activities, and more to help you transform your math stations into a dynamic learning environment.

I have a secret confession to make.

Teaching reading has never been my cup of tea.

Don’t get me wrong, I adore immersing my students in captivating books and opening their minds to new worlds.

But when it comes to reading workshop, let’s just say it didn’t exactly light a fire in my soul.

The never-ending cycle of reading from the textbook series and completing author’s purpose, inference, and comprehension worksheets felt mundane and, dare I say it, a bit dull. #yawn 🥱

Despite my best efforts, I struggled to make it truly exciting.

So, when the opportunity to introduce math workshop came knocking, I must admit, I wasn’t exactly jumping for joy.

## It’s All About Engagement

Math stations are a powerful tool for promoting student engagement and deepening our students’ mathematical understanding.

By incorporating engaging activities into your math station rotations, you can create a dynamic learning environment that sparks excitement and curiosity in your students.

In this blog post, we will explore 10 engaging small group math activities that will captivate your students and inspire them to develop a love for math.

## 10 Small Group Math Activities for Any Math Station Rotation

## Activity 1: Math Games Galore

Math games are a fantastic way to make learning fun and interactive. These small group math activities provide opportunities for students to practice math skills while communicating mathematically with their peers. Here are a few examples of card and dice games that can be incorporated into your math station rotations:

- War Games: This classic math game requires only a deck of cards. Partners each turn over a card and use their math skills to compare the numbers, such as whole numbers, fractions, decimals, or even simple expressions. The player with the higher value wins the round. Players continue playing until no cards are remaining.
- Cover-Up Games: This simple board game requires two dice. In turn, each student rolls the dice and completes the problem associated with the dice sum. Then, they cover the solution with a marker in a grid trying to get four in a row, column, or diagonal.
- Traditional Board Games: Pair a set of task cards with a traditional board game to create this math station activity. After correctly answering a question, students can roll a die or toss a coin to move along the path.

## Activity 2: Hands-On Manipulatives

Hands-on manipulatives bring abstract math concepts to life, making them more concrete and tangible. These activities provide students with a visual and kinesthetic experience, enhancing their understanding of mathematical concepts. Consider incorporating the following manipulative-based activities into your math stations:

- Pattern Block Puzzles: Provide students with pattern blocks and challenge them to create different shapes and designs, exploring concepts like symmetry, fractions, and geometry.
- Base Ten Blocks: Use base ten blocks to reinforce place value concepts. Students can build and represent numbers and explore operations with whole numbers and decimals.
- Data Analysis with Spinners: Use spinners with different sections labeled with numbers or categories. Students spin the spinner multiple times, record the results, and represent the data they collected by creating a frequency table, bar graph, or dot plot.

Want to use math manipulatives but need more resources? Try virtual manipulatives !

## Activity 3: Puzzle Power

Puzzles are not only engaging but also promote critical thinking and problem solving skills. They challenge students to think creatively and persevere through complex tasks. Here are a few puzzle-based activities to include in your math stations:

- Number Crossword: Create a crossword puzzle where students respond to math-related clues and fill in the corresponding numbers in the grid.
- Logic Grids: Challenge students with logic puzzles that require them to use deductive reasoning and critical thinking skills to solve.
- Sudoku: Provide students with Sudoku puzzles focusing on numbers, shapes, or mathematical operations, encouraging them to apply logical reasoning to complete the puzzles.

## Activity 4: Real-World Math Investigations

Real-world math investigations allow students to apply their mathematical knowledge and skills to authentic situations. These activities promote problem-solving, critical thinking, and the ability to connect math and the real world. Consider the following examples for your math station rotations:

- Recipe Conversions: Provide students with recipes that need to be converted to serve a different number of people. Students must adjust ingredient quantities using proportional reasoning and fractions.
- Budgeting and Shopping: Give students a budget and a list of items with prices, such as a local grocery ad or restaurant menu. They must plan a shopping trip, choose items based on their budget, and calculate the total cost.
- Measurement Scavenger Hunt: Create a list of objects in the classroom or nearby hallway students need to measure using various units of measurement. Students will use rulers, measuring tapes, or scales to gather the data and record their measurements.

## Activity 5: Technology Tools

Incorporating technology into math stations can engage students and provide interactive learning experiences. Consider utilizing the following online resources and educational apps:

- Online Math Games and Activities: Websites such as IXL Learning, Prodigy, and Math Playground provide opportunities to gamify the learning experience. Students can earn points and virtual rewards while building math skills.
- Digital Activities: Activities designed for Google Classroom and Seesaw provide engaging opportunities for students to use digital tools to review math concepts and skills .
- Digital Task Cards: Take task cards to the next level with digital task cards . Task cards created for use at Boom Learning or even with Google Forms can increase student engagement while students practice essential math skills.

## Activity 6: Ready-Made Math Activities

In addition to creating your small group math activities, incorporating ready-made resources can provide a valuable and time-saving option for engaging your students. These pre-made activities offer an interactive and hands-on way to reinforce math skills and concepts.

- Electronic Flashcard Games: Electronic flashcard games provide an exciting and interactive way for students to practice and reinforce math facts. These games often offer various difficulty levels and customizable options to cater to students’ needs. Math Whiz and Math Shark are two of my favorites!
- VersaTiles: VersaTiles is a hands-on, puzzle-inspired activity with an interactive workbook system designed to reinforce math skills. Students use a unique answer case and answer tiles to complete activities and self-check their answers. It’s a favorite of my elementary and middle school students alike!
- Marcy Cook Tiling Tasks: Marcy Cook Tiling Tasks are critical thinking activities that require students to use a set of tiles labeled 0-9 to complete math puzzles. These tasks promote problem-solving skills, logical reasoning, and mathematical thinking. Students arrange the tiles to fill in the blanks and create equations and solutions that satisfy the given conditions.

## Activity 7: Math Task Cards

Math task cards offer various practice opportunities and allow students to work independently. They are also easy to make and readily available on teacher marketplaces across the web. Here are some examples of task card activities:

- Showdown: Partners select one card and complete it individually. Then, students “showdown” and share their responses using math talk and supporting each other as necessary.
- Math Game: Pair a set of task cards with a game board to gamify the learning experience! Students place their game markers at the start line. To move down the path, students must correctly respond to a task card, toss a die (or flip a coin), and move the number of spaces indicated on the die or based on the side of the coin visible after the coin toss (heads = 2 spaces, tails = one space).
- Cover Up: To create a Cover Up game, program a 4 x 4 grid with the solutions to a set of task cards. Then, when students respond correctly, they can cover the answer with a board marker, such as centimeter cubes, color tiles, Bingo chips, or beans. The goal is to get four markers in a row, column, or diagonal. Note: This activity works best with multiple-choice questions, true or false questions, or questions with numerical answers.

## Activity 8: Math Picture Books

Integrating math and literature activities enhances students’ mathematical understanding and develops their reading comprehension, critical thinking, and analytical skills. Consider incorporating the following math and literacy activities into your math stations:

- Math Investigations: Use the storyline in a book to practice a skill. For example, use the Pigs Will Be Pigs book by Amy Axelrod to practice adding and subtracting decimals as the pigs find money hidden around their home and then spend it at a restaurant.
- Story-based Problems: Use the book as a springboard to reinforce a specific skill. Either re-create scenarios from the book or create new problems based on the problems the characters faced in the story such as comparing the amounts in two different groups after reading Amanda Bean’s Amazing Dream by Cindy Neuschwander.
- Famous Mathematicians Book Study: Create a set of questions to help students learn more about famous mathematicians, such as Katherine Johnson , and provide students with access to a physical or digital biography to read and use to respond to the questions.

## Activity 9: Calculator Challenges

Incorporating calculator challenges into your math stations can allow upper elementary students to deepen their understanding of math concepts while developing their computational skills. Calculator activities engage students in hands-on exploration, problem-solving, and critical thinking while building their technology proficiency skillset.

These activities encourage students to use calculators to investigate, solve problems, and make connections. Consider incorporating the following calculator challenges into your math stations:

- The Broken Calculator Challenge: In this challenge, students are shown an image of a calculator with only three or four working buttons. Students then determine how to use the remaining keys on the broken calculator to create specific values, such as using +, x, 2, and 3 to achieve a value of 8.
- Calculator Corrections: This task requires students to determine how to correct a calculator mistake without clearing the calculator. Using the calculator, students determine how to fix a mistake, check the answer, and make adjustments as necessary. After completing the task, students can justify the changes they made. For example, Brandi wanted to enter the number 4265 into her calculator. By mistake, she typed 4165. Without clearing her calculator, how can she fix her mistake?
- Target Number: For this task, students represent place value in numbers, determine what number to add or subtract to reach the target number, and use the calculator to check their process. For example, students are given the following directions: Start with 7,254. Find a number to subtract that will result in a 0 in the hundreds column.

## Activity 10: Problem Solving and Critical Thinking

Problem-solving and critical thinking are essential life skills for students to develop. Engage your students in meaningful and challenging math experiences by incorporating problem solving and critical thinking activities into your small group math activities. Click here for a list of problem solving activities ; that encourage students to think critically, analyze situations, and apply their mathematical knowledge to real-world scenarios.

## A Shift in Thinking

While I never found a way to make reading workshop exciting, math workshop was my students’ favorite part of the day.

Integrating various small group math activities into the rotation was the key to keeping students engaged in learning and wanting more.

If you’re new to math stations, the best way to get started is to choose 1-2 new activities to implement. Consider adding another activity after students are comfortable with the previous activities and staying engaged with minimal support.

Adding new small group math activities gradually will help maintain order during the rotation and save your sanity! If you’d like more tips and tools for managing math stations, download the Math Station Management Toolbox using the form at the bottom of this post.

Math station rotation boards are an excellent organizational tool for implementing the small group math activities above. This visual display helps students understand the structure of the math station rotation and enhances their independence and accountability.

The small group math activities shared above can be assigned to specific stations on the rotation board. Then, teachers can use the math station rotation board to effectively monitor student progress as they rotate through various math stations.

Experiment with these small group math activities and adapt them to meet the needs and interests of your students, ensuring math station time is an exciting and transformative experience for all.

What are your favorite small group math activities? Respond in the comments below.

## Shametria Routt Banks

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## Hands-on, Practical Guidance for Educators

From math, literacy, equity, multilingual learners, and SEL, to assessment, school counseling, and education leadership, our books are research-based and authored by experts on topics most relevant to what educators are facing today.

## Daily Routines to Jump-Start Problem Solving, Grades K-8

Cultivate reasoning, critical thinking, and mathematical agency with quick bursts of quality practice, or routines, outlined in this indispensable guide designed to produce independent, problem-solving students.

Full description

- Grade Level: PreK-12
- ISBN: 9781071888261
- Published By: Corwin
- Series: Corwin Mathematics Series
- Page Count: 232
- Publication date: April 12, 2023

Price: $38.95

## For Instructors

Request Review Copy

When you select 'request review copy', you will be redirected to Sage Publishing (our parent site) to process your request.

## Description

Finally! A book that helps solve the problem of teaching problem solving!

Learning to be a problem solver is hard. Teaching students how to be problem solvers themselves can be even harder. Some students may learn to mimic procedures to come up with correct answers, but are they really learning to solve problems? To become independent problem solvers, students need to practice exploring, tinkering, and, most important, thinking!!

The bite-size routines in this guide are perfect for teachers looking for the interesting, engaging, and doable practice students need to become problem-solving masters. These flexible, modifiable bursts of quality practice are designed to get students to look at problems at different ways, sparking discussion, making connections, and boosting mathematics achievement. This collection addresses the common challenges students and teachers face when learning to problem solve by offering guidance on

- Developing students’ mathematical reasoning and conceptual understanding
- Building students’ skills with various problem-solving strategies
- Nurturing mathematical confidence and improving identity and agency

Fortified with standards for math practices and processes, the ideas in this guide develop the reasoning and critical-thinking skills needed to become independent problem-solvers for life!

## John J. SanGiovanni

John J. SanGiovanni is a mathematics coordinator in Howard County, Maryland. There, he leads mathematics curriculum development, digital learning, assessment, and professional development. John is an adjunct professor and coordinator of the Elementary Mathematics Instructional Leadership graduate program at McDaniel College. In addition to this Figuring Out Fluency series, some of his many Corwin books include Daily Routines to Jump-Start Problem Solving, Grades K-8 , Answers to Your Biggest Questions about Teaching Elementary Math , the Daily Routines to Jump-Start Math series, and Productive Math Struggle: A 6-Point Action Plan for Fostering Perseverance . John is a national mathematics curriculum and professional learning consultant who also speaks frequently at national conferences and institutes. He is active in state and national professional organizations, recently serving on the board of directors for the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) and currently on the board of directors for the National Council of Supervisors of Mathematics (NCSM).

## Table of Contents

Part I: Why Jump-Start Routines for Problem Solving?

Part II: Jump-Start Routines for Problem Solving

I Would Say

Asked and Answered

What’s the Question?

Same Data, Different Question

How Do You…?

Same and Different

What’s the Sitch?

They Did What?

This Number, That Number

Imagine That

Math the Equation

Another Question

It Can’t Be

Is It Reasonable?

Sticky Patterns

Lots and Lots

Part III: Where to Go Next

Problem solving has long been a challenge for students—until now! This book provides teachers with a bank of routines to engage students in thinking, reasoning, and sense making. Everything you need to teach students to be effective problem solvers is in your hands right now!

John J. SanGiovanni has written yet another masterful book on routines focused on problem solving. My mentor once told me the way you get better at solving math problems is making sense and solving more math problems. Many students typically shy away from problem solving, yet in this book SanGiovanni has developed culturally relevant problems students can engage in to help build their problem solving skills. He has brilliantly put together a book of problem-solving routines to help all students be more successful. If we want equitable mathematics classrooms, ALL students must be engaged in daily problem solving and Daily Routines to Jump-Start Problem Solving is a resource to ensure that!

I have been using resources from John J. SanGiovanni since 2018! His strategies have helped propel thinking and student engagement in my classroom as well as classrooms across my district. His activities and routines have increased students’ enjoyment of mathematics concepts, which has led to higher scores across the district.

Teachers often say, “My students can solve math equations, but not word problems.” With SanGiovanni’s Daily Routines to Jump-Start Problem Solving , teachers can ensure students develop the confidence to solve word problems without using hazardous tricks and gimmicks. Students will be encouraged to think about the mathematics behind the problem. The ideas in this book should be part of every mathematics class.

Instead of “cookbook” problem-solving prompts, SanGiovanni provides teachers with step-by-step guidance on implementing problem solving through the use of classroom-ready instructional routines that allow students to engage in rich problem-solving experiences and promote reasoning. Additionally, this book encourages productive discourse, facilitates “just in time” scaffolds, and supports existing high-quality curriculum materials.

The routines in this book are easy to follow and help set the stage to spark student engagement and discourse in any math class. As a math coach, I am always looking for ways to support teachers in helping students to be better thinkers and to reason with math, and these quick bursts of quality practice are an amazing resource. The graphic organizers provided to support the routines help ensure all students have an entry point to problem solving.

Daily Routines to Jump-Start for Problem Solving offers a plethora of problem-solving routines to promote reasoning and critical thinking skills. A resource for administrators, instructional coaches, and math teachers, each protocol has a “Something to Think About” section, images and examples that encourage productive discussions, and variations of each routine to meet all students’ needs.

Daily Routines to Jump-Start Problem Solving is truly a game changer for K–8 educators. Every problemsolving situation embodies critical thinking and comprehension, thus building student self-efficacy. SanGiovanni provides practical tools and support to breathe new life into math language routines, promoting equitable problem solving for all students. Routines showcased in this book allow students to take the driver’s seat as they engage in real-world problem solving.

As math educators and leaders, we have all been waiting for a book like this to aid in facilitating rich discussions centered on problem-solving, all in the first few minutes of daily instruction! SanGiovanni provides 20 research-based strategies to help students become problem-posers and problem-solvers while building their confidence, agency, and identity. This book is truly a gift to the math education community.

SanGiovanni shares a creative collection of quick, high-quality practice opportunities that will help students sharpen their problem-solving skills. Teachers have been longing for purposeful activities like these to engage their students in thinking and sense-making as they strive to develop confident problem solvers in mathematics. This book will become one of teachers’ best-loved instructional resources!

Daily Routines to Jump-Start Problem Solving should be on every elementary mathematics teacher’s desk! These routines include practical approaches that will support all students in developing problem solving strategies and skills. There is also substantial background information for teachers to deepen their own pedagogical understanding of how to further student success in approaching and solving problems.

SanGiovanni does an excellent job empowering teachers to bridge the gap between some of their favorite math routines and problem solving. He provides a roadmap that will walk alongside teachers as they look to engage students and improve thinking beyond the first 15 minutes of math class.

Other Titles in: Mathematics | Elementary Maths | Secondary Mathematics

## Related Professional Learning

- Routines to Jump-Start Problem Solving

## Related Resources

- Daily Routines to Jump-Start Problem Solving Webinar [Study guide]
- Develop an Approach to Analyzing Problems [Lessons and Strategies]
- Know Your Students & Learn From Your Students [Podcast]
- Routine to Build Students' Problem-Solving Skills [Lessons and Strategies]

## Hands-On Problem Solving, Grade 2

A minds-on approach, canada-wide, table of contents.

Introduction to Hands-On Problem Solving, Grade 2 1

- Program Introduction 2
- Program Principles 2
- Big Ideas in Mathematics 2
- Communication 2
- Connections 3
- Mental Math 3
- Estimation 3
- Reasoning 4
- Technology 4
- Visualization 4
- Problem Solving 5
- What Is Problem Solving? 5
- Best Practices in Teaching Problem Solving 5
- Routine Problems 5
- Non-Routine Problems 6
- Extended Exploration Problems 7
- Implementing the Hands-On Problem-Solving Program 7
- Program Format 7
- Planning Your Year of Problem Solving 7
- Curricular Connections 8
- Supporting Literacy During Problem Solving 8
- The Questioning Process 8
- Additional Resources 8
- A Note About Pennies 8
- Reproducible to Guide and Support Learning – Problem Solving 10
- Mathematics Correlation 11
- Grade 2 Correlation Chart 11

The Hands-On Problem Solving Assessment Plan 13

- Assessment for Learning 13
- Assessment as Learning 13
- Assessment of Learning 14
- Performance Assessment 14
- Portfolios 14
- Assessment Reproducibles 16

Routine Problems 25

- Implementation of Routine Problems 26
- Problem Types 26
- 1A Sarah Builds an Inuksuk 32
- 2A Miranda Bakes Pumpkin Pies to Sell at the Farmers’ Market 34
- 3A Coins in Your Pocket 36
- 4A Lance Paints His Face 38
- 5A Remembrance Day Poppies 40
- 6A Hannah Puts Stamps on Greeting Cards 43
- 7A Tom Collects Hockey Pucks 45
- 8A Cinnamon Hearts on Valentine’s Day Cookies 47
- 9A Colin Collects Stickers 49
- 10A Collections of 100 Items 51
- 1A Serena Collects Coins 54
- 12A Choir Practice at Recess 56
- 13A Touring the Bluenose II 58
- 14A How Much Water? 60
- 15A Washing the Dishes 62
- 16A Pennies in a Boat 65
- 17A How Many Hockey Sticks? 67
- 18A Titanium or Aluminum? 69
- 19A Jill Colours a Caterpillar 71
- 20A Tommy’s Tuba Pattern 73
- 21A A Pattern With Nickels 75
- 22A How Many Seals? 78
- 23A Ring-Toss Pattern 80
- 24A Celebrating Manitoba Day 82
- 25A Getting in Shape 84
- 26A Walter the Whooping Crane 86
- 27A A Picnic Problem 88
- 28A Measuring Fish 90
- 29A Building a Stool 92
- 30A Drawing Pentagons 94
- 31A Sorting Road Signs 96
- 32A Counting Balls 99
- 33A Surveying Classmates About Spiders 101
- 34A Counting Teeth Lost 103
- 35A Making Wind Devices 106
- 36A How Many Donuts? 109
- 37A Favourite Birthday Cake 111
- 38A Rebecca’s Family Recycling 113
- 39A Green Eggs and Ham 115
- 40A Dogs at Stanley’s Party 119

Non-Routine Problems 123

- Implementation of Non-Routine Problems 124
- Teaching Non-Routine Problems 127
- An Additional Resource for Solving Non-Routine Problems 129
- 1B Collecting Plastic Bags 131
- 2B Sharing Gummy Bears 133
- 3B Coins in Cups 135
- 4B Number of the Day 138
- 5B Do Aliens Play Hopscotch? 141
- 6B Making a Birthday-Cake Glyph 144
- 7B A Venn Diagram for Hockey 150
- 8B A Heart Pattern 153
- 9B Evaporating Water 155
- 10B Which Stickers Are Stars? 157
- 11B Soccer Target Hit 160
- 12B How Old Are Vihn’s Grandparents? 163
- 13B What Number Am I? 166
- 14B Figuring Out the Cost of Stickers 168
- 15B Side-by-Side at the Movies 170
- 16B Buying Snacks 172
- 17B Number Sums Puzzler 1 176
- 18B Which Coins Do Amber and Julia Have? 179
- 19B How Old Are Lizzie and Lana? 182
- 20B Ricardo’s Baseball Jersey 184
- 21B Choosing a New Mouth Guard 186
- 22B A Golden Boy Model 190
- 23B Jeremiah and Chase Go Ice Fishing 192
- 24B Stone Soup 194
- 25B Coins in Mason’s Pocket 196
- 26B Number Sums Puzzler 2 198
- 27B Numbers on Model Race Cars 200
- 28B Monkeys Stealing Caps 202
- 29B Collections of 100 Things 204
- 30B Five Coins in the Piggybank 207
- 31B Months Mystery 209
- 32B Diorama Challenge 212
- 33B Mystery of the Missing Numbers 214
- 34B Favourite Cupcakes 216
- 35B Number Riddle 218
- 36B Making a Funny Monster 220
- 37B Counting Hairy Spider Legs 226
- 38B Getting Mortimer to Sleep 229
- 39B Pouring Liquids Down a Ramp 231 4
- 0B Number Sums Puzzler 3 233

Extended Exploration Problems 235

- Implementation of Extended Exploration Problems 236
- Teaching Extended Exploration Problems 236
- 1C The Terry Fox Run 241
- 2C Visit to a Local Food Bank 244
- 3C An Invitation to Moira’s Birthday 246
- 4C What’s in a Name? 248
- 5C LEGO Graphing 250
- 6C Quilt Pattern 253
- 7C Makeup Mess 258
- 8C A Glooscap Legend 263
- 9C 10 Is the Most Amazing Number! 267
- 10C A Gallery Walk of Masterpieces 270

Appendix 279

References 290

About the Authors 292

## Related Media

Description.

Hands-On Problem Solving is essential to learning mathematics. When actively engaged in problem solving, students use all the mathematical processes they need in order to achieve the goals of mathematics education and to support lifelong learning. In Hands-On Problem Solving , students are exposed to a wide range of problems in all areas of mathematics. They solve these problems by applying a combination of mathematical knowledge, tools, and strategies. They also explore a variety of methods for solving and confirming their solutions.

The ability to use mathematical knowledge to solve problems is the goal for all students. Hands-On Problem Solving is an easy-to-use resource that helps teachers plan and implement best practices to meet this goal. In this book, you will find

- problem-solving activities to incorporate into daily mathematics classes for an entire school year
- a correlation chart identifying the math concepts presented in each lesson
- tasks designed for specific outcomes and learning expectations from Canadian curriculum documents
- problems integrating other curricular areas such as language arts, science, and social studies
- materials lists, reproducibles, assessment suggestions, and much more!

Download the FREE digital resources that accompany this book by following the instructions printed on the first page of the Appendix.

FREE K-12 standards-aligned STEM

curriculum for educators everywhere!

Find more at TeachEngineering.org .

- TeachEngineering
- Solving Everyday Problems Using the Engineering Design Cycle

## Hands-on Activity Solving Everyday Problems Using the Engineering Design Cycle

Grade Level: 7 (6-8)

(two 60-minutes class periods)

Additional materials are required if the optional design/build activity extension is conducted.

Group Size: 4

Activity Dependency: None

Subject Areas: Science and Technology

NGSS Performance Expectations:

## TE Newsletter

Engineering connection, learning objectives, materials list, worksheets and attachments, introduction/motivation, vocabulary/definitions, investigating questions, activity extensions, user comments & tips.

This activity introduces students to the steps of the engineering design process. Engineers use the engineering design process when brainstorming solutions to real-life problems; they develop these solutions by testing and redesigning prototypes that work within given constraints. For example, biomedical engineers who design new pacemakers are challenged to create devices that help to control the heart while being small enough to enable patients to move around in their daily lives.

After this activity, students should be able to:

- Explain the stages/steps of the engineering design process .
- Identify the engineering design process steps in a case study of a design/build example solution.
- Determine whether a design solution meets the project criteria and constraints.
- Think of daily life situations/problems that could be improved.
- Apply the engineering design process steps to develop their own innovations to real-life problems.
- Apply the engineering design cycle steps to future engineering assignments.

## Educational Standards Each TeachEngineering lesson or activity is correlated to one or more K-12 science, technology, engineering or math (STEM) educational standards. All 100,000+ K-12 STEM standards covered in TeachEngineering are collected, maintained and packaged by the Achievement Standards Network (ASN) , a project of D2L (www.achievementstandards.org). In the ASN, standards are hierarchically structured: first by source; e.g. , by state; within source by type; e.g. , science or mathematics; within type by subtype, then by grade, etc .

Ngss: next generation science standards - science.

NGSS Performance Expectation | ||
---|---|---|

MS-ETS1-1. Define the criteria and constraints of a design problem with sufficient precision to ensure a successful solution, taking into account relevant scientific principles and potential impacts on people and the natural environment that may limit possible solutions. (Grades 6 - 8) Do you agree with this alignment? Thanks for your feedback! | ||

This activity focuses on the following aspects of NGSS: | ||

Science & Engineering Practices | Disciplinary Core Ideas | Crosscutting Concepts |

Define a design problem that can be solved through the development of an object, tool, process or system and includes multiple criteria and constraints, including scientific knowledge that may limit possible solutions. Alignment agreement: Thanks for your feedback! | The more precisely a design task's criteria and constraints can be defined, the more likely it is that the designed solution will be successful. Specification of constraints includes consideration of scientific principles and other relevant knowledge that is likely to limit possible solutions. Alignment agreement: Thanks for your feedback! | All human activity draws on natural resources and has both short and long-term consequences, positive as well as negative, for the health of people and the natural environment. Alignment agreement: Thanks for your feedback! The uses of technologies and any limitations on their use are driven by individual or societal needs, desires, and values; by the findings of scientific research; and by differences in such factors as climate, natural resources, and economic conditions.Alignment agreement: Thanks for your feedback! |

NGSS Performance Expectation | ||
---|---|---|

MS-ETS1-4. Develop a model to generate data for iterative testing and modification of a proposed object, tool, or process such that an optimal design can be achieved. (Grades 6 - 8) Do you agree with this alignment? Thanks for your feedback! | ||

This activity focuses on the following aspects of NGSS: | ||

Science & Engineering Practices | Disciplinary Core Ideas | Crosscutting Concepts |

Develop a model to generate data to test ideas about designed systems, including those representing inputs and outputs. Alignment agreement: Thanks for your feedback! | Models of all kinds are important for testing solutions. Alignment agreement: Thanks for your feedback! The iterative process of testing the most promising solutions and modifying what is proposed on the basis of the test results leads to greater refinement and ultimately to an optimal solution.Alignment agreement: Thanks for your feedback! |

## International Technology and Engineering Educators Association - Technology

View aligned curriculum

Do you agree with this alignment? Thanks for your feedback!

## State Standards

Massachusetts - science.

Each group needs:

- Marisol Case Study , one per student
- Group Leader Discussion Sheet , one per group

To share with the entire class:

- computer/projector setup to show the class the Introduction to the Engineering Design Cycle Presentation , a Microsoft® PowerPoint® file
- paper and pencils
- (optional) an assortment of scrap materials such as fabric, super glue, wood, paper, plastic, etc., provided by the teacher and/or contributed by students, to conduct the hands-on design/build extension activity

(Have the 19-slide Introduction to the Engineering Design Cycle Presentation , a PowerPoint® file, ready to show the class.)

Have you ever experienced a problem and wanted a solution to it? Maybe it was a broken backpack strap, a bookshelf that just kept falling over, or stuff spilling out of your closet? (Let students share some simple problems with the class). With a little bit of creativity and a good understanding of the engineering design process, you can find the solutions to many of these problems yourself!

But what is the engineering design process? (Listen to some student ideas shared with the class.) The engineering design process, or cycle, is a series of steps used by engineers to guide them as they solve problems.

(Show students the slide presentation. Refer to the notes under each slide for a suggested script and comments. The slides introduce the main steps of the engineering design process, and walk through a classroom problem—a teacher’s disorganized desk that is preventing timely return of graded papers—and how students devise a solution. It also describes the work of famous people—Katherine Johnson, Lee Anne Walters, Marc Edwards, James E. West and Jorge Odón—to illustrate successful examples of using the steps of the engineering design process.)

Now that we’ve explore the engineering design process, let’s see if we can solve a real-world problem. Marisol is a high-school student who is very excited to have their own locker. They have lots of books, assignments, papers and other items that they keep in their locker. However, Marisol is not very organized. Sometimes they are late to class because they need extra time to find things that were stuffed into their locker. What is Marisol’s problem? (Answer: Their locker is disorganized.) In your groups, you’ll read through Marisol’s situation and see how they use the engineering design process to solve it. Let’s get started!

This activity is intended as an introduction to the engineering design cycle. It is meant to be relatable to students and serve as a jumping off point for future engineering design work.

Engineers follow the steps of the engineering design process to guide them as they solve problems. The steps shown in Figure 1 are:

Ask: identify the need & constraints

- Identify and define the problem. Who does the problem affect? What needs to be accomplished? What is the overall goal of the project?
- Identify the criteria and constraints. The criteria are the requirements the solution must meet, such as designing a bag to hold at least 10 lbs. Constraints are the limitations and restrictions on a solution, such as a maximum budget or specific dimensions.

Research the problem

- Learn everything you can about the problem. Talk to experts and/or research what products or solutions already exist.
- If working for a client, such as designing new filters for a drinking water treatment plant, talk with the client to determine the needs and wants.

Imagine: develop possible solutions

- Brainstorm ideas and come up with as many solutions as possible. Wild and crazy ideas are welcome! Encourage teamwork and building on ideas.

Plan: select a promising solution

- Consider the pros and cons of all possible solutions, keeping in mind the criteria and constraints.
- Choose one solution and make a plan to move forward with it.

Create: build a prototype

- Create your chosen solution! Push for creativity, imagination and excellence in the design.

Test and evaluate prototype

- Test out the solution to see how well it works. Does it meet all the criteria and solve the need? Does it stay within the constraints? Talk about what worked during testing and what didn’t work. Communicate the results and get feedback. What could be improved?

Improve: redesign as needed

- Optimize the solution. Redesign parts that didn’t work, and test again.
- Iterate! Engineers improve their ideas and designs many times as they work towards a solution.

Some depictions of the engineering design process delineate a separate step—communication. In the Figure 1 graphic, communication is considered to be incorporated throughout the process. For this activity, we call out a final step— communicate the solution —as a concluding stage to explain to others how the solution was designed, why it is useful, and how they might benefit from it. See the diagram on slide 3.

For another introductory overview of engineering and design, see the What Is Engineering? What Is Design? lesson and/or show students the What Is Engineering? video.

Before the Activity

- Make copies of the five-page Marisol Case Study , one per student, and the Group Leader Discussion Sheet , one per group.
- Be ready to show the class the Introduction to the Engineering Design Cycle Presentation , a PowerPoint® file.

With the Students

- As a pre-activity assessment, spend a few minutes asking students the questions provided in the Assessment section.
- Present the Introduction/Motivation content to the class, which includes using the slide presentation to introduce students to the engineering design cycle. Throughout, ask for their feedback, for example, any criteria or constraints that they would add, other design ideas or modifications, and so forth.
- Divide the class into groups of four. Ask each team to elect a group leader. Hand out the case study packets to each student. Provide each group leader with a discussion sheet.
- In their groups, have students work through the case study together.
- Alert students to the case study layout with its clearly labeled “stop” points, and direct them to just read section by section, not reading beyond those points.
- Suggest that students either taking turns reading each section aloud or read each section silently.
- Once all students in a group have read a section, the group leader refers to the discussion sheet and asks its questions of the group, facilitating a discussion that involves every student.
- Encourage students to annotate the case study as they like; for example, they might note in the margins Marisol’s stage in the design process at various points.
- As students work in their groups, walk around the classroom and encourage group discussion. Ensure that each group member contributes to the discussion and that group members are focused on the same section (no reading ahead).
- After all teams have finished the case study and its discussion questions, facilitate a class discussion about how Marisol used the engineering design cycle. This might include referring back to questions 4 and 5 in “Stop 5” to discuss remaining questions about the case study and relate the case study example back to the community problems students suggested in the pre-activity assessment.
- Administer the post-activity assessment.

brainstorming: A team creativity activity with the purpose to generate a large number of potential solutions to a design challenge.

constraint: A limitation or restriction. For engineers, design constraints are the requirements and limitations that the final design solutions must meet. Constraints are part of identifying and defining a problem, the first stage of the engineering design cycle.

criteria: For engineers, the specifications and requirements design solutions must meet. Criteria are part of identifying and defining a problem, the first stage of the engineering design cycle.

develop : In the engineering design cycle, to create different solutions to an engineering problem.

engineering: Creating new things for the benefit of humanity and our world. Designing and building products, structures, machines and systems that solve problems. The “E” in STEM.

engineering design process: A series of steps used by engineering teams to guide them as they develop new solutions, products or systems. The process is cyclical and iterative. Also called the engineering design cycle.

evaluate: To assess something (such as a design solution) and form an idea about its merit or value (such as whether it meets project criteria and constraints).

optimize: To make the solution better after testing. Part of the engineering design cycle.

Pre-Activity Assessment

Intro Discussion: To gauge how much students already know about the activity topic and start students thinking about potential design problems in their everyday lives, facilitate a brief class discussion by asking students the following questions:

- What do engineers do? (Example possible answers: Engineers design things that help people, they design/build/create new things, they work on computers, they solve problems, they create things that have never existed before, etc.)
- What are some problems in your home, school or community that could be solved through engineering? (Example possible answers: It is too dark in a community field/park at night, it is hard to carry shopping bags in grocery store carts, the dishwasher does not clean the dishes well, we spend too much time trying to find shoes—or other items—in the house/garage/classroom, etc.)
- How do engineers solve problems? (Example possible answers: They build new things, design new things, etc. If not mentioned, introduce students to the idea of the engineering design cycle. Liken this to how research scientists are guided by the steps of the scientific method.)

Activity Embedded Assessment

Small Group Discussions: As students work, observe their group discussions. Make sure the group leaders go through all the questions for each section, and that each group member contributes to the discussions.

Post-Activity Assessment

Marisol’s Design Process: Provide students with writing paper and have them write “Marisol’s Design Process” at the top. Direct them to clearly write out the steps that Marisol went through as they designed and completed their locker organizer design and label them according to where they fit in the engineering design cycle. For example, “Marisol had to jump back to avoid objects falling out of their locker” and they stated a desire to “wanted to find a way to organize their locker” both illustrate the “identifying the problem” step.

- Which part of the engineering design cycle is Marisol working on as they design an organizer?
- Why is it important to identify the criteria and constraints of a project before building and testing a prototype? (Example possible answers: So that the prototype will be the right size, so that you do not go over budget, so that it will solve the problem, etc.)
- Why do engineers improve and optimize their designs? (Example possible answers: To make it work better, to fix unexpected problems that come up during testing, etc.)

To make this a more hands-on activity, have students design and build their own locker organizers (or other solutions to real-life problems they identified) in tandem with the above-described activity, incorporating the following changes/additions to the process:

- Before the activity: Inform students that they will be undertaking an engineering design challenge. Without handing out the case study packet, introduce students to Marisol’s problem: a disorganized locker. Ask students to bring materials from home that they think could help solve this problem. Then, gather assorted materials (wood and fabric scraps, craft materials, tape, glue, etc.) to provide for this challenge, giving each material a cost (for example, wood pieces cost 50¢, fabric costs 25¢, etc.) and write these on the board or on paper to hand out to the class.
- Present the Introduction/Motivation content and slides to introduce students to the engineering design process (as described above). Then have students go through the steps of the engineering design process to create a locker organizer for Marisol. Inform them Marisol has only $3 to spend on an organizer, so they must work within this budget constraint. As a size constraint, tell students the locker is 32 inches tall, 12 inches wide and 9.5 inches deep. (Alternatively, have students measure their own lockers and determine the size themselves.)
- As students work, ask them some reflection questions such as, “Which step of the engineering design process are you working on?” and “Why have you chosen that solution?”
- Let groups present their organizers to the class and explain the logic behind their designs.
- Next, distribute the case study packet and discussion sheets to the student groups. As the teams read through the packet, encourage them to discuss the differences between their design solutions and Marisol’s. Mention that in engineering design there is no one right answer; rather, many possible solutions may exist. Multiple designs may be successful in imagining and fabricating a solution that meets the project criteria and constraints.

Engineering Design Process . 2014. TeachEngineering, Web. Accessed June 20, 2017. https://www.teachengineering.org/k12engineering/designprocess

## Contributors

Supporting program, acknowledgements.

This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation CAREER award grant no. DRL 1552567 (Amy Wilson-Lopez) titled, Examining Factors that Foster Low-Income Latino Middle School Students' Engineering Design Thinking in Literacy-Infused Technology and Engineering Classrooms. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.

Last modified: October 26, 2023

We’re hiring! We have openings nationwide that could use your skills. Search Jobs

## Executive Director

Voted by Newsweek in 2024 as one of America's Greatest Workplaces for Diversity

- Tuition Reimbursement
- Pet Insurance
- Adoption Reimbursement Benefits
- Variety of Associate Discounts

To support our associates in their journey to become a U.S. citizen, Brookdale offers to advance fees for naturalization (Form N-400) application costs, up to $725, less applicable taxes and withholding, for qualified associates who have been with us for at least a year.

## Responsibilities

Leader responsible for the community’s daily operations, associate relations, resident and resident family engagement and connection, financial performance, and regulatory compliance. Creates and executes the business plan and develops the team to become a preferred senior living community in the market, while growing revenue and profitability in partnership with the district team. Works with sales to drive sales results. Creates an inclusive community culture that provides high quality resident experiences and care and engages residents, families, and associates.

- Is responsible for all operations within the community, interacting with staff and residents, prospects, or their family members or representatives, as necessary; builds and maintains strong working relationships with management team.
- In connection with the district team, develops and implements business plan to become a preferred senior living community in the local market and creates, analyzes, and executes annual operating and capital budgets; reviews and manages community performance against goals; sets plans to improve or maintain performance to Company service and financial standards.
- Acts as a hands-on leader who supervises, directs, and motivates community staff; provides assistance as needed. Encourages teamwork and collaboration and cultivates an inclusive community culture. Ensures community maintains appropriate staffing levels to meet the needs of residents and in accordance with applicable legal requirements.
- Attracts, develops, engages, and retains associates in accordance with Company policies. Responsible for recruiting and hiring high quality and engaged associates and ensuring they are appropriately trained and developed to meet the needs of residents. Reviews promotions, development plans, disciplinary actions, and termination decisions ensuring consistency in the selection and retention of quality associates. Analyzes trends in recruiting, turnover, and retention to continually improve community performance.
- Builds high degree of resident satisfaction and retention. Is responsible for maintaining positive resident relations and is accessible and approachable to residents and their families. Is proactive in solving problems and resolving issues with support from district leaders. Leads efforts to leverage satisfied residents and families to grow community occupancy. Partners with the Resident Council as necessary. Administers resident satisfaction and other surveys and works with district team to create plan to address opportunities for improvement in resident satisfaction, experience, and engagement.
- For assisted living or memory care communities, creates collaborative relationship with community clinical leader to ensure community’s care and services are appropriate to meet the needs of residents. Oversees resident services including the admission process, healthcare management, and maintenance of resident documentation to ensure high quality services and compliance with Company policy and applicable legal requirements. Assists in developing and conducting service plan reviews, consistent with applicable legal requirements, with appropriate clinical care team members and resident families to maintain the personal dignity of residents.
- Demonstrates a high degree of financial acumen as it relates to community operations; works to meet or exceed budgeted revenue and profitability; and proactively creates plans to overcome unanticipated expenses or revenue shortfalls. Continually explores means of revenue enhancement and expense reduction, while meeting the needs of residents and adhering to Company policies and applicable regulations.
- Drives sales and marketing efforts in collaboration with community sales leader to meet or exceed occupancy or revenue targets by developing new business, generating leads, and building strategic relationships. Engages with prospects who tour the community. Identifies trends and implements approved sales and marketing activities and strategies to maximize revenue (RevPAR).
- Identifies and builds positive relationships with local influencers and professionals to raise community profile. Becomes active in social and civic affairs of the local community that align with the Company’s mission. Represents the community and the Company to governmental agencies (as appropriate), professional organizations, community groups, and other appropriate agencies and groups.
- Ensures buildings, grounds, and property are up to Company standards through the oversight of preventative maintenance systems and programs and frequent inspections that meet Company standards of excellence.
- Enforces current Company policies and procedures. Maintains applicable licenses in accordance with Company, Federal, State, and local requirements.

This job description represents an overview of the responsibilities for the above referenced position. It is not intended to represent a comprehensive list of responsibilities. An associate should perform all duties as assigned by their supervisor.

## Qualifications

Education and Experience High school diploma or GED required. Bachelor’s Degree preferred. Minimum of two years in operational leadership experience required. Additional years of experience can be substituted for the education requirement on a year-for-year basis.

Certifications, Licenses, and Other Special Requirements Must have a valid administrator license in states where required. Must have a valid driver’s license and access to a private vehicle for business use.

Management/Decision Making Uses analytic skills and understanding of the organization and the business in order to handle arising problems and issues. Demonstrates leadership skills to be responsible for the overall direction, coordination, and evaluation of resident care, marketing, food service, housekeeping, and maintenance units. Carries out supervisory responsibilities in accordance with the Company’s policies and applicable laws.

Knowledge and Skills Has knowledge of the organization, industry, and a functional discipline. Extensive understanding of technical areas gained through experience and used to complete and/or oversee assignments. Familiarity with Microsoft software preferred. Effective written and oral communications skills are essential. Ability to prioritize and effectively manage multiple tasks is essential. Ability to delegate assignments to the appropriate individuals based on their skills, roles, and interests. Demonstrates good judgment and strong problem solving and decision making skills.

Physical Demands and Working Conditions

- Use hands and fingers to handle or feel
- Reach with hands and arms
- Stoop, kneel, crouch, or crawl
- Talk or hear
- Ability to lift: up to 50 pounds
- Requires interaction with co-workers, residents or vendors
- Occasional weekend, evening or night work if needed to ensure shift coverage
- On-Call on an as needed basis
- Possible exposure to communicable diseases and infections
- Potential injury from transferring, repositioning, or lifting residents
- Exposure to latex
- Possible exposure to blood-borne pathogens
- Possible exposure to various drugs, chemical, infectious, or biological hazards
- Requires Travel: Occasionally
- Requires Driving: Drives self (Tier 2)

Brookdale is an equal opportunity employer and a drug-free workplace.

- HOST A HOPS EVENT
- HOPS News & PDF Info Printables
- EVENT PRESENTERS

We are currently presenting in several counties in Florida. If interested please contact us :)

Classroom whole grade teachers, Alpha, STEM and Gifted teachers LOVE US for their 1st - 8th grade students.

Our proven success of this program is supported by teachers, principals, school districts and grant foundations across Florida.

Hops Events can also be used by businesses, organizations, church groups and faculty groups as a team building/leadership activity.

What are the benefits for my students?

Our activities are specially designed to enhance a student's team working skills, creative problem solving strategies, reading comprehension, and following written and verbal directions precisely.

HoPS Activities are presented to help increase a student's performance as efficient information managers, resource managers, communicators, effective leader and team workers.

We also provide certificates for each student along with take home goodies. Stickers for teams achieving top scores for the challenges are also awarded. So good sportsmanship is also practiced:)

Our program emphasizes the desired thinking skills necessary for test success!

Where are HoPS Events held?

We will need a large venue such as a Media Center, Multi Purpose Room, or a close-by community venue, with enough tables for the challenges.

A few Volunteers are needed. Join the fun!

What is HoPS?

HoPS is an educational and fun 2 1/2 hour competitive "in school field trip".

Our uniquely designed program encourages students to experience the excitement of creative team work and the thrill of resolving 4 challenging activities using creative solutions.

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HoPS Events are offered to grade levels 1-2nd, 3-5th and 6-8th students.

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Owner/Event Director: Adel Partlo-Locke [email protected]

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## Hops Hands On Problem Solving

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Educational goals disguised as just plain FUN!!

Our company also provides Team Building Workshops for teaching staff.

HOPS Hands on Problem Solving is a highly structured, creative, exciting, intellectually challenging & fun

"in school" competitive team event!

Our program uses a team approach & students/participants use creative solutions to solve 4 various hands-on educational challenges.

We bring the whole program to your school, complete with an awards program and take home goodies for the students!

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## Standards-Based Learning and Grading: Your 2024 Game Plan

What to know when implementing standards-based learning into your district

The movement toward standards-based learning has been in motion for over 30 years, yet there is still widespread confusion about why this model is so valuable.

During a recent Tech & Learning roundtable webinar sponsored by Otus, a panel of K-12 leaders tackled the most pressing questions about standards-based learning and grading, and shared how to prepare to address it in the new school year.

Watch the full webinar on demand here .

Panelists included:

- Eddie Oakley, Learning Acceleration Specialist, Ohio Valley Educational Cooperative, Kentucky
- Kelly Ronnebeck, Associate Superintendent for Student Achievement, East Moline School District 37, Illinois
- Jay Meadows, Chief Executive Officer, Exemplars
- Barbara Geibel, First Grade Teacher, Mentor Lead, Salem School District, Wisconsin

## What are the core principles of your district’s standards-based grading, and how do you implement and provide feedback to support these?

Kelly Ronnebeck : “We found that standards-based systems’ grading really focuses on student learning of the core content, not on engagement or the student’s effort. We really liked that, and we were able to show parents where their students were performing in relation to the standard. It really aligns more closely to what we’re doing in the classroom with our instructional practices, and provides a more specific, accurate, and more understandable description of what students are doing.”

Barbara Geibel : “Last year is when we started meeting as grade levels and going through all our standards, picking out our essential standards and the ones we thought were most important, and then started aligning our assessments and building our report cards from that.”

Jay Meadows : “Looking at it through the lens of a math teacher, I realized that our grading practices weren’t really asking our students to think about 21st-century real-world problems and how to solve those while developing 21st-century skills . . . The traditional report card wasn’t really [reflecting those skills]. I was giving students As and Bs on tests for procedural fluency that my phone can do now. So what should we be asking kids to do in our math classrooms? When we think about math a little bigger, beyond procedures and algorithms, and encourage problem-solving and critical thinking, it’s more engaging and in alignment with 21st-century needs.”

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Eddie Oakley : “Focusing on the priority standards, and staying away from ‘the efforts’ and extra credit, really let us know where students are, and what they can and cannot do.”

## What steps have you taken to align curriculum, assessments, and instruction to standards-based grading?

Geibel : “We worked together to make sure that our assessments were aligned to the state standards, and we used Otus to put that all in to make sure of the accountability and consistency so that we’re all on the same page . . . In the beginning, you have some who are leery about it – it’s something different, right?”

Ronnebeck : “Standards-based grading really helped us give true pictures to parents and teachers and students, especially since we have such a diverse population. It was a big shift, but our teachers were very excited about it because they felt that disconnect between what we were doing with instruction and matching that with a letter grade . . . We started the learning as a group, doing various book studies looking into standards-based grading, what is it, etc. And then from there, we had various curriculum committees working together, which had representation from all the different grade levels, so we were hearing all the voices across the district, which helped with the buy-in.”

Oakley : “We started with the end in mind. We built our summative assessments first, and then built toward the standards . . . Our district has built a portrait of a graduate, which tells every parent what a student should be able to do at the end of each grade level before going on to the next grade level. It took a lot of work all across the district, and featured a big committee with staff, teachers, community members, and parents. The profile features six pieces to it: global citizen, lifelong learner, inspired innovator, critical thinker, responsible collaborators, effective communicators. Each student in 5th, 8th, and 12th grade has to do a defense of learning to see if they can go across to the next grade level.”

Meadows : “When you start with your assessments, you can work backward. You can say, ‘If these are the expectations, the big ideas, then how can we learn to do that in my classrooms?’ And then that drives a lot of conversations in your PLCs and PD . . . So when you ask students to think about math beyond procedural fluency, it really increases the engagement levels of students. When students are given the freedom to solve a cool problem any way they want, it increases student engagement and freedom in the math classroom . . . So when you do that, you create a consistent set of expectations from K through high school that certain big ideas will be covered every year. And it can take three years for everyone to buy in and see math the same way, and that consistency is the key to standards-based learning. It takes time, but it’s a powerful journey.”

Oakley : “Assessments and instruction both need to be rigorous. And I told my students and teachers that the practice is going to be harder than the game. So taking tough assessments gives them the confidence when it’s time to take the state exams.”

## How are you communicating to parents? Learning expectations, grading policies, etc.

Oakley : “It first started with getting the staff on board, and then went to families. I wrote letters to parents, and said, ‘When you were in school, grades were 70%, 80%, etc.,’ and I asked them to tell me what that meant. And they couldn’t tell me what it meant. Now with standards-based grading, their students can tell them what that means because they’ve mastered the standard . . . Now we’re using social media to get things out to students and parents.”

Geibel : “We’re just going to be starting it, so it’s been a lot of communication to start out. It’s starting with early grades first. This will be a breath of fresh air because it can show the parents exactly what their student does and does not know . . . By starting with K-2, they will move up through the grades to help with the adoption/switch.”

Ronnebeck : “It’s a very slow rollout. We started with our K-4 buildings, which are self-contained classrooms. We had a gentle start with traditional grades, but changed some other parts. We worked with the mindset at middle school the first year, but we’re also holding town hall meetings, sending home notes, flyers, social media, etc. We also had a short video at every event that scrolled through it over and over again, giving the highlights of standards-based grading . . . A lot of the communication has really happened through conversation, but with the students talking to their parents, but it’s also discussed in teacher conferences, which rolls into the instruction. So having those direct discussions with parents was really the game-changer. Change is scary!”

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Ray Bendici is the Managing Editor of Tech & Learning and Tech & Learning University. He is an award-winning journalist/editor, with more than 20 years of experience, including a specific focus on education.

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