Teaching Mathematics with the Problems of the Week

(Subject to change)

This course is designed for subscribers of any of our Problem of the Week services, who want to implement problem solving more effectively in their classrooms. The content will be at the Math Fundamentals level (FunPoW, upper elementary grades). We assume that participants . . .

Course Goals

We hope this course helps you:

Instructor: Claire Mead, FunPoW Coordinator

Course Requirements

The course will take place online using the Epsilen environment of the New York Times Knowledge Network and the Math Fundamentals Problem of the Week (FunPoW). Participants will need to have:

The course will consist of six one-week sessions that each begin on Thursday morning and end Wednesday night. It will cover the cycle of three FunPoWs (designated A, B, and C below). Participants will have some flexibility within each week but are expected to complete the activities during the assigned week. Please complete each week's assignments by Wednesday, unless otherwise noted.

Discussions and Journals : Much of the value of the course will come from sharing ideas among the group. You will be expected to post your own thoughts and experiences, and to read and respond thoughtfully to your classmates' postings.

Online Chats: These will be offered during two time slots each week. You are required to attend at least four of them during the span of the course. Participants are welcome to arrange additional chats with the instructor or each other.


Participants who successfully complete the course activities will receive a Certificate of Completion from the Drexel University School of Education indicating they have completed 15 hours of Professional Development.

Course Outline

Week 1 – Problem solving as a vehicle for teaching and learning mathematics.


Week 2 – The nature of good communication in problem solving and the teacher's role in facilitating it.


Week 3 – Developing a repertoire of representational strategies in a problem solving context.


Week 4 – Developing the ability to reason in mathematics; managing problem solving in the classroom.


Week 5 – The role of problem solving in developing metacognitive skills and making connections.


Week 6 – Using a rubric to assess student work; providing constructive feedback to students.


Required Readings

Principles and Standards for School Mathematics, National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM, 2000).
If you are not an NCTM member and do not have access to the print form of this document, you can sign up for 120-day free online access to the full Principles and Standards at NCTM's website. This document will be used throughout the course.

Two articles from Teaching Children Mathematics and two articles from Mathematics Teaching in the Middle School, NCTM (periodicals).
Pdfs of these are available from within the course.

Please email Claire with any questions.