The Importance Of Teaching Through Problem Solving In Mathematics

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The Principles and Standards states that “Solving problems is not only a goal of learning mathematics but also a major means of doing so… Problem solving is an integral part of all mathematics learning, and so it should not be an isolated part of the mathematics program” (page 32, ¶3). There are three ways that problem solving might be incorporated into mathematics instruction. They include teaching for problem solving, teaching about problem solving, and teaching through problem solving. Teaching for problem solving is teaching students skills that they can later use problem solving to solve. Textbooks follow the format of skills being taught first, or teaching for problem solving. It starts with learning the concept, then solving the problems (page 32, ¶5). Teaching about problem solving is teaching students how to problem solve, or teaching them strategies for solving a problem (page 32, ¶6). Teaching through problem solving means that students learn mathematics through real contexts, problems, situations, or models. …show more content…
Teachers should select tasks that allow students to learn content by having students figure out their own strategies and solutions. There are several good reasons for teaching through problem solving. Teaching through problem solving focuses students’ attention on ideas and has them reflect on the concepts; develops student confidence and makes them feel that they are capable of doing mathematics; provides a context or environment to help students build meaning for the concept; allows entry points for a wide range of students; provides ongoing assessment data useful for making instruction decisions, helping students succeed, and informing parents; allows for extensions for students who finish early; and engages students because it is a lot of fun (page 34, ¶1-9). Teaching through problem solving has benefits for learning and

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