Building Mathematical Communication
with the Math Forum's Problems of the Week

Judy Ann Brown [] and Lisa Lavelle []

NCTM's 79th Annual Meeting
Math World: New Standards for the New Millennium
Orange County Convention Center - Orlando, Florida
Thursday, April 5th, 2001

Math Forum || Student Center || Teachers' Place _________________________________

This presentation focuses on mentoring in the Math Forum's Problems of the Week. Using the Internet, like mathematics, is learned best by active participation, so you are encouraged to return to this page and explore on your own.

The Math Forum's Problems of the Week are designed to provide creative, non-routine challenges for students in grades three through twelve. Problem solving and mathematical communication are key elements of every problem.

There are six different problems offered each week:



Middle School




Discrete Math


Trig & Calculus

A new problem is posted each Monday from September through May. Students are encouraged by our mentors to revise their submissions, correct any mathematical errors, and to improve their explanations of the problem.

The Problems of the Week have evolved to include additional useful features, including:

  • A Library of Problems of the Week that organizes the archives for browsing by mathematics and story topic, rates problems for difficulty level, and provides for searching by keyword.

  • A "Print This Problem" link which allows the problems to be printed with a simple "Math Forum Problem of the Week" header. This feature allows problems to be used without indicating a course or grade level.

  • Teacher accounts that track each student's last posting date as well as correct, bonus, and total submissions. To request an account, follow the "Teacher Account" link for a particular PoW from the Teacher Information page. Here is a sample account page.

  • The Problem of the Week Discussion group at This list has been established to facilitate conversation around the Math Forum's Problems of the Week. We invite input from teachers who have used these problems in their classrooms and from teachers who have questions concerning how they can implement the problems in their curricula.

  • Our first print publication, Problems of the Week, Volume 1, available exclusively at our conference booth, #2002.

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