Middle School Math Problem Solving

(Grades 6-8) / Flex Course

PDI Course Number: 96T02 / UCSD Course Number: EDUC40104


Course Description

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 (50 hours of training) from UC San Diego Extension. For detailed information on university credit, click here.

"The class content was clear and easy to read which made the course very easy to follow. The content was also extremely interesting and will be very useful throughout my teaching career. The resources chosen for the course helped me to gain so much knowledge and will give me the opportunity to improve the educational experience for my students in many ways." - Anthony DiMarco

Enrollment Options

Course Only

Only $127 with the discount

Course with Credit from UCSD Extension

Only $323 with the discount

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

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


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



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.

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



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
  • Assignment #3: Share your expertise
  • Test #3
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)


Click here to request a copy of the detailed syllabus

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