PoWs in the Classroom: The PoW Process

Step 0: Read and Understand the Problem

Use appropriate literacy strategies to make sure the problem is understood and new vocabulary words are learned.

Step 1: Brainstorming

[Whole class or as an away activity] Brainstorm ideas about how to solve the problem, make notes, do calculations, write down facts and definitions that were researched. If doing it as an away activity, students might talk with a partner or within a group about ideas.

Step 2: Figure Out a Solution Strategy

[Individual and then partners or class] Students develop their approaches to the problem. Over time introduce students to the different methods on the Problem Solving Strategies List. It may help students to discuss their solution strategy with a partner or the class in order to develop it enough to write a draft and to see if it makes sense. The goal is to help all students get to the point where they are ready to write drafts. They should not try to make all solutions agree or be the same, if they even get that far at this step.

Step 3: First Draft

[Center or partner activity] Explain what you have been able to figure out. If you are stuck, explain up to that point and then try to ask a specific question for what you need help with. Write complete sentences. Remember to explain why each step was taken. Talk and share with a partner or submit this online to the Math Forum in order to receive help.

Step 4: Revision

[Center or partner activity] Discuss with the teacher or a partner the feedback you received on your solution. Use the rubric to think about all of the aspects of a good solution. Make notes on what to improve. Revise the draft.

Step 5: Submission

[Individual] Submit online, or to the teacher

Step 6: Repeat steps 4 and 5 if there is time

Notes: Each step could be done a different day, or some could be combined. The first couple of times, write a class solution on the class data pad (so that it can be revised). Progress to the point where students are working independently and with partners. Feel free to modify this process so that it looks like the writing process in literacy.

© 2017 The Math Forum at NCTM. All Rights Reserved. http://mathforum.org/pows/