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 into math instruction. The course begins by building problem-solving foundations such as how to break down a word problem, how to approach math vocabulary, and how to visualize and perform the problem. Then, specific strategies are shared 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, and checking and explaining solutions. Teachers will gain strategies for differentiating their math instruction so that all students can find success in problem solving. Teachers will also learn how to appropriately assess students in the problem-solving process. Finally, ideas for connecting the math problem-solving process to other content areas will be shared. By the end of this course, teachers will have the tools they need to effectively teach their students 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 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

$124

Course with Credit from UCSD

$329

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: 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: Course Reflection

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