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Middle School Math Problem Solving (6-8)

Have you ever wondered why some of your students excel in math but seem to falter when it comes to solving problems? This online course is designed for teachers in grades 6-8 who want to help their students become critical and logical mathematical thinkers. Information on the problem-solving process is shared together with distinct suggestions for incorporating specific problem-solving strategies such as thinking logically, predicting and estimating, using a model or diagram, creating a table to find a pattern, and using an algorithm or formula. Teachers will gain valuable classroom ideas including using manipulatives, developing real-world problems, checking and explaining solutions, how to differentiate within the math classroom, as well as how to appropriately assess students in the problem-solving process. This course is worth 3 ⅓ semester units/5 quarter units from UC San Diego Extension. For detailed information on university credit, click here.

"The content of this course was very relevant and easy to implement." - John DeMeester


Enrollment Options

Register] Course Registration Only $120 with the discount

Register]Course Plus Credit from UC San Diego Extension Only $304


Required Resource Book: This course has a modestly-priced required resource book (available in both new and used versions) that can be purchased through Amazon using the following link. Note that you can begin and participate in your course before the book arrives.

Modeling with Mathematics: Authentic Problem Solving in Middle School” by Nancy Butler Wolf

If you are registering for multiple courses, use the following link to access the book list for all PDI courses with direct purchase links through Amazon. PDI Course Resource Book List


Topical Outline / Click here to request a copy of the detailed syllabus

PDI Course Number: 96T02

UCSD Course Number: EDUC40104

Unit One

  • Introduction to the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics
  • Introduction to the Common Core State Standards for Mathematical Practice
  • The Problem Solving Process
  • Assignment #1: Write an autobiography
  • Test #1

Unit Two

  • Setting Up a Problem-Solving Environment
  • Breaking Down a Word Problem
  • Approaching Mathematical Vocabulary
  • Visualizing and Performing the Problem
  • Assignment #2: Article reflection
  • Test #2

Unit Three

  • Applying the Key Shifts in CCSS Math to Problem Solving
  • Teaching Logical Reasoning
  • Prediction and Estimation
  • Test #3
  • Assignment #3: Share your expertise

Unit Four

  • Using a Model or Diagram
  • Creating a Table and Finding a Pattern
  • Using an Algorithm or Formula
  • Metacognition in Math
  • Test #4

Unit Five

  • Checking and Explaining Solutions
  • Differentiation in the Math Classroom
  • Using Manipulatives and Other Resources
  • Test #5

Unit Six

  • Making it Meaningful: Real Life Problem Solving
  • Assessing Problem Solving
  • Connecting Mathematical problem Solving to Other Content Areas
  • Assignment #4: Create real-world math problems for each of the problem-solving strategies
  • Assignment #5: Reading/Learning Log (Based on required resource book)