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Problems of the Week

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The Math Forum's Problems of the Week (PoWs) provide creative, non-routine challenges for students in grades three through high school geometry and algebra. Problem solving and mathematical communication are key elements of every problem.

Four Services currently available:

  • Math Fundamentals (FunPoW) – content typically introduced in grades 3 to 5
  • Pre-Algebra (PreAlgPoW) – content typically taught in middle grades
  • Algebra (AlgPoW) – algebra I
  • Geometry (GeoPoW) – high school geometry

Schedule:

  • We post 20 problems each year in each service. A link to the year’s calendar is available from each problem page.

  • Revision is highly recommended!
  • Sample solutions with commentary appear Friday morning.

Students may work alone or with a partner or team.

Each problem is accompanied by support for the teacher:

  • Online Resource Page:
    • key topics and concepts addressed in the problem
    • links to related problems in the Problems Library
    • links to related content in the Ask Dr. Math archives
    • links to Math Tools which can help with the problem
    • links to related discussions in the Teacher2Teacher archives
    • links to outside websites that relate to the problem
  • Enhanced Packet for Teachers [pdf]: a copy of the problem, our “short answer,” expected solutions, teaching suggestions, and samples of student work (if the problem has been published before)
  • Activity Series [pdf]: problem-specific classroom activities that focus on a specific problem solving strategy
  • Scenario Only [pdf]: the problem without the question
  • Scoring Rubric [pdf]

To the extent possible submissions are scored, based on a rubric, and given feedback with suggestions for improvement. Mentors focus on the mathematical thinking first, trying to help students achieve a sound solution path, but they also comment on the students' communication. In fact, students whose math is correct will almost always receive suggestions as to how they might make their explanation stronger. Our research demonstrates the value of revision!

The Math Forum Generic FunPoW Scoring Rubric in kid-friendly language:

  • Download in pdf format.

Benefits of using Problem of the Week as a regular part of a math program

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