My philosophy has always been simple: be firmly rooted in educational research; find ways to apply evidence-based principles in the classroom; share the ideas that work best with other teachers. This approach led to me write the I See Reasoning eBooks, and it has driven the creation of my next resource, I See Problem-Solving UKS2.
In reference to problem-solving in maths, the latest EEF research states:
‘Explicit training appears essential; these sub-skills do not appear to derive from practice without direction and oversight.’
It also says: ‘Teachers should deliberately select visual representations that are appropriate to the problem’ and continues ‘provide prompts to encourage learners to monitor and reflect during problem solving.’
My belief is that I See Problem-Solving UKS2 will help us to explicitly teach problem-solving skills, helping all children understand the mathematical structure of each question. The resource will unpick a wide range of multi-step problems from right across the UKS2 maths curriculum.
Each task centres on a main question, like the example below:
Tasks are made more accessible by the ‘scaffold’ prompt which children have the option of accessing. This might be a part-completed worked example, a related example or some other prompt to break down the question:
The ‘explain’ prompt will provide a context for deeper thought or discussion, for example using ‘explain the mistake’ examples:
There is also an ‘extension’ prompt to provide further challenge based on the same task:
The mathematical structure of the problem is shown step-by-step and very visually by the ‘worked example’. This will be made available as a PDF or as a PowerPoint file. The worked examples can be displayed like ‘flip books’, showing each stage of the problem. Click here to see the worked example for this task – click through the pages rather than scrolling up and down for maximum effect!
I See Problem-Solving UKS2 is currently in production. It is being trialled by a large team of teachers who are sending me feedback on how the tasks can be improved. To join the team, register here.
I’m writing the resource over the 2018 summer holidays, will trial a few tasks in early September then I will aim for a September release – watch this space!