Teaching with the Problems of the Week

Using the Problems of the Week

Current Problem of the Week Calendar
Find links to the Packets, Activity Series, and Online Resources (and more!) from the list of individual problem pages. There are teaching suggestions, problem solutions, sample student work with rubric-related commentary and suggested interventions, and activities to use with each problem, designed to build problem-solving skills in a coherent sequence through the year.

Find links to our Certificates of Participation. Please feel free to download them, make copies, and add your students' names to use in your end-of-the-year ceremonies.

Account Help
These pages give an overview of the technical side of the Problems of the Week—how to register your students, submit a solution, revise, and more.

About the Math Forum Rubric
The long term goal for responses to the Problems of the Week is a combination of good problem solving and strong mathematical communication. We use a four point rubric in six different areas including interpretation, strategy, accuracy, completeness, clarity, and reflection.

The Rubrics
These PDF files give details about how the problems are scored in the six different areas. They are general to each of the specific levels and are suitable for use with students:
      Math Fundamentals
      Discrete Math

About Mentoring
The Math Forum provides mentoring to student submitters in several different forms. All mentors use the Math Forum's scoring rubric, which covers several components of problem solving and mathematical communication. They also provide feedback to students designed to help them improve one or two specific aspects of their work. It is our hope that students who receive mentoring of any kind will take advantage of it to revise and improve their work.

Implementing Problem Solving and Writing

What are the Problems of the Week and Why Should I Use Them? [PDF]
Read about some specific issues in math classrooms that have shaped the design and use of the PoWs by teachers over the years.

How to Start Problem Solving in Your Classroom [PDF]
When you start doing problem solving in your classroom, how can you begin to create an environment that supports problem solving as an extended process?

Think You Don’t Have Time to Use the PoWs? [PDF]
Instead of taking a full class period to have students work on problem solving, here are some ideas to use just a little time each day.

Problem-Solving Strategies and the Common Core Practice Standards
Wondering about the Common Core State Standards and, in particular, the Mathematical Practices? Read Max's blog on how the eight practices align with the Math Forum's problem-solving strategy instruction.

Mastering the Common Core Mathematical Practices Through Problem-Solving Strategies [PDF]
View the alignments among the Common Core Mathematical Practices and the Math Forum's Problem Solving and Communication Activity Series, in a quick reference table.

Problem of the Week Process
What might using the Problems of the Week in your classroom look like? Here are some step-by-step suggestions to consider.

Problem Solving Strategies List
Do you find that your students need some ideas about different strategies to use to approach a problem? Here is a list to use with them.

Getting Unstuck
Are your students trying to solve problems, but are often unsure what to do next? Here are some things you can suggest they try to help them get going.

Writing Development Outline [PDF]
Support for the development of writing in a math context.

Problem Solving Articles
Articles that we have had published about problem solving with students, including articles that give context to using the Problems of the Week.


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