Savvy Solver

Am I a “Savvy Solver”?

I have spent the past two days in math trainings (which have been somewhat helpful). We discussed different ways of solving multiplication, division, and fraction problems based off of the third, fourth, and fifth grade common core standards. It was interesting to hear how different people solve problems because so many times I find my mind automatically solving the problem the one and only way (according to so many of my childhood math teachers) to solve it.

It was amazing to hear about how some teachers solve with pictures most of the time while others are sliding up and down on a number line in their minds. So few of the teachers were like me and would just SOLVE it.

Our students are all different. They all see math differently and may need to solve problems differently. This is probably why when I teach multiplication I show them how to draw a picture (circles and sticks), draw an array (rows and columns), repeatedly add, and eventually relate it to a division fact. Students can think about the properties of multiplication and allow that to assist in their solving. They can apply it to money (25 x 7, think of quarters, $1.75, back to numbers, 175).

Our minds do crazy things!

So, am I a savvy solver? Can I solve problems in multiple ways? Which way is the most efficient or easiest? Am I accurate and can I prove my answers? We must consider all of these things in order to truly teach math.

Are you a savvy solver?