Math Problem-Solving Strategies for Grades 3-6

(Grades 3-6) / Flex Course

PDI Course Number: 32T02 / UCSD Course Number: EDUC41594

Course Description

Why do students seem to have such a difficult time with the mathematical problem-solving process? Mathematics standards have shifted the focus from teaching problem solving to teaching via problem solving. This online course is designed for teachers in grades 3-6 who want to help their students become critical and logical mathematical thinkers. Specific strategies are introduced that improve the way students approach math problems. Information on the problem-solving process is shared together with distinct suggestions for incorporating specific problem-solving strategies such as choosing an operation, finding a pattern, making a table, making an organized list, drawing a picture or diagram, guess and check, working backwards, and logical reasoning. Teachers will also learn effective grouping strategies for student-centered learning. The role of assessment in the problem-solving process, as well as assessment techniques specifically for problem-solving will also be provided. By the end of this course, teachers will more fully understand how to best help students apply their logic and reasoning to real-world math problems as well as how to appropriately assess students in the problem-solving process. This course is worth 3 ⅓ semester units/5 quarter units (50 hours of training) from University of California San Diego (UCSD) Division of Extended Studies. For detailed information on university credit, click here.

"The content of this course was very meaningful and applicable to daily instruction. The resources are valuable. The information and knowledge will be most beneficial in enhancing my teaching practices." - Kathleen Gauthie

Enrollment Options

Course Only

$127 with the discount

Course with Credit from UCSD

$323 with the discount

This course is worth 3 ⅓ semester units or 5 quarter units of graduate-level credit from UCSD.

You have up to one year from the date you are enrolled to complete a flex course.

Click here to view the course syllabus.

Print our customized course approval form to share with your school district.

UCSD Course Number: EDUC41594
Unit One
  • Why Problem Solving and Critical-Thinking Skills are Important
  • Introduction to the NCTM Standards and Common Core State Standards for Mathematics
  • The Role of Mathematics Assessment
  • Assignment #1: Write an autobiography
  • Test #1
Unit Two
  • The Problem-Solving Process
  • Student-Centered Teaching: Using Problems as a Teaching Tool
  • Grouping Strategies
  • Assignment #2: Article reflection
  • Test #2
Unit Three
  • Problem Solving Strategy #1: Choose an Operation
  • Problem Solving Strategy #2: Find a Pattern
  • Problem Solving Strategy #3: Make a Table
  • Assignment #3: Share your expertise
  • Test #3
Unit Four
  • Problem Solving Strategy #4: Make an Organized List
  • Problem Solving Strategy #5: Draw a Picture of a Diagram
  • Problem Solving Strategy #6: Guess and Check
  • Test #4
Unit Five
  • Problem Solving Strategy #7: Work Backward
  • Problem Solving Strategy #8: Logical Reasoning
  • Make it Meaningful—Real-World Problem Solving
  • Test #5
Unit Six
  • The Use of Manipulatives in Problem Solving
  • Using Literature to Teach Problem-Solving Skills
  • Assessing Problem Solving
  • Assignment #4: Create a real-world math problem to highlight each problem-solving strategy
  • Assignment #5: Course Reflection

View PDI's Catalog of Courses

Check out a list of all PDI graduate-level online courses or sort by grade level or subject area.

Click Here »

Register Now!

Quick access to register for PDI's online courses using our secure system.

Click Here »

Learn More about PDI

Find out how to reach PDI and get answers to any questions you may have.

Click Here »

Access My Course

Access PDI's online learning management system to begin your course.

Click Here »