Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Problem-Based Learning: Powerful Problem Solving from the Math Forum @ Drexel

The Math Forum @ Drexel sure know what they are talking about when it comes to teaching students Higher Order Thinking skills through engaging mathematics like Problem-Based Learning. Their book, written by Max Ray, Powerful Problem Solving, has been an interest of mine for the last few months as we are studying it in a graduate class I am taking. I am thankful to have had the opportunity to close-read the text and explore their online resources, which I am happy to share with you!

This book provides a novice Problem-Based Learning teacher with many tools to create a successful implementation of the strategy in their classroom. There are over-arching themes interwoven throughout the book focusing on areas of problem-solving strategies that have activities to accompany them. While these are great in and of themselves, you truly need some good rich tasks to use these practices with. Enter their companion website and my currently most frequently accessed link: Powerful Problem Solving.

Reasons that I love the PPS Online Resource Website:

  • They have a multitude of videos linked to their strategies and Problems of the Week so that you can see what they look like in action. 
    • You can also hunt them down on YouTube, but I like the layout of this version.
  • The Chapter-By-Chapter resources, giving you access to activities and tasks relayed in the book, additional problems, supporting applets, student-hand outs, etc... 
  • Links to their free Problems of the Week (though signing up for your class and receiving access to all of them may not be a bad idea!)
    • Remember, the resources from the PPS website also give examples of the activities to use with these tasks!
    • These are pre-designed Problem-Based problems for you to use in your classroom, which you can use whole-sale or use as models for designing your own Problem-Based problems!

For more information specifically about the Math Forum @ Drexel, check out a page by Terry, a classmate of mine, with links to other specific resources available from the Math Forum @ Drexel.