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Powerful Problem Solving News and Events

Math Forum Professional Development based on Powerful Problem Solving. We will continue to offer both of our two six-week online professional development courses focused on the book. Each week we will read one chapter of Powerful Problem Solving, try the activities, watch videos and look at student work, and discuss the themes of the chapter. Learn more about the courses and register on our Professional Development pages.

You're part of the Powerful Problem Solving community! Are your students problem solving? Want to share videos, blog posts, student work, or stories? Do you have questions for Max or the Math Forum team? Do you have suggestions? Favorite problems, activities, or handouts? We'd like to start adding community resources to this site! Please email us if you have resources or stories you'd like us to consider or questions you'd like us to address. Thanks!

We're still writing! Max has been reflecting on and blogging about the activities from the book. Check out his blog post on Making a Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich

Come meet the author and the Math Forum team! Check our Upcoming Conferences page.

Books on Problem Solving and Related Problems

For the teacher:

Pólya, George (1957). How to Solve It. Garden City, NY: Doubleday.


Burns, Marylin (1996). 50 Problem-solving Lessons: Grades 1 - 6. Math Solutions.

Lester, Frank, and Charles, Randall (2003). Teaching Mathematics Through Problem Solving: Prekindergarten – Grade 6. NCTM.

O’Connell, Sue (2007). Introduction to Problem Solving, Grades 3 – 5 2nd Edition. Heineman.

Wedekind, Kassia Omohundro (2011). Math Exchanges. Stenhouse Publishers.

Middle school:

Herr, Ted. Johnson, Ken (2001) Problem Solving Strategies: Crossing the River with Dogs and other Mathematical Adventures 2nd Edition. Key Curriculum Press.

Hyde, Arthur. (2009) Understanding Middle-School Math. Heinemann.

Schackow, Joy. O’Connell, Sue (2008). Introduction to Problem Solving, Grades 6 – 8. Heinemann.

Schoen, Harold, and Charles, Randall (2003). Teaching Mathematics Through Problem Solving: Grades 6 - 12. NCTM


All Grade Levels

  • The Math Forum Problems of the Week (note: requires a subscription)
  • Free Math Forum Problems (note: requires a free login)
  • Free Math Forum Scenarios
  • Short articles on problem-solving from the Math Forum
    • What are the Problems of the Week and Why Should I Use Them? [PDF]
    • Samples of the Problems of the Week [HTML]
    • Problem Solving and Communication Activity Series [PDF]
    • Mastering the Common Core Mathematical Practices [PDF]
    • Problem Solving-It Has to Begin with Noticing and Wondering - journal article [PDF]
    • Focus on Student Practice - journal article [PDF]
    • Unsilence Students' Voices - journal article [PDF]
    • Supporting Sense–Making and Perseverance - journal article [PDF]
    • Ostrich Llama Count–Examining Solution Methods - activity [PDF]
  • Doing Mathematics: Habits of Mathematicians
    • Math teacher Bryan Meyer blogs about his action research project to support students to become aware of and use ten mathematical habits (similar to the ones this book is organized around).
  • Estimation 180
    • Visual estimation challenges to build students’ number sense.
  • Illuminations
    • Manipulatives and lessons from NCTM (National Council of Teachers of Mathematics).
  • Illustrative Mathematics
    • Rich tasks aligned to the Common Core
  • NRICH Maths Weekly Challenges
    • From the University of Cambridge, mathematical challenges for elementary and middle-school grades.
  • Visual Patterns Project
    • Can you find what will happen on the 43rd iteration? Students and teachers submit visual patterns to extend and explore.
  • Yummy Math
    • Topical math activities that relate to happenings in our world. PDFs, Microsoft Word documents, and Excel spreadsheets have offered prompts and tables on topics ranging from the oil spill in the gulf to the Academy Awards; from the Super Bowl to the Chilean mine rescue; from March Madness to American Idol.

Middle-School Focused:

  • Dan Meyer’s Three-Act Math Tasks
    • Problem-solving challenges launched and explored using video and images
  • Graphing Stories
    • Video of quantitative relationships that students are challenged to graph.
  • Math Counts
    • Challenging problems for middle-school students, designed for their competitive math team challenges.
  • Mathalicious [note: free samples are available, after that a sliding-scale subscription is required]
    • Lessons that help middle-school teachers teach math in a way that engages their students and helps students understand how the world works.
  • Mathematics Assessment Project
    • Middle-school tasks and challenges aligned to the Common Core.

Beyond Middle-School Math:

  • Park Mathematics
    • An independent school in Baltimore that developed their own secondary curriculum based around habits of mind. They'll send you PDFs on request.
  • PCMI (Park City Mathematics Institute)
    • Daily problem sets used in the Secondary School Teachers Program developing mathematics courses at Park City Mathematics Institute since 2001. To challenge the math teacher!
  • Phillips Exeter Academy Problems
    • Problem sets used in the high-school mathematics curriculum at Phillips Exeter Academy in Exeter, New Hampshire.

Math Forum Professional Development Opportunities

  • Professional Development Program: Learning Math Together [HTML]
  • Mastering the Common Core: We Have the Practices [HTML]
  • Online Master's in Mathematics Learning and Teaching [HTML]

based on a webpage design by Kaytee Riek

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