|Posted: 1/31/2015 | Updated: 2/2/2015|
Hello, my name is Zoya. I teach Olympiad math at ICA to 1st -5th graders. I use a model approach to non-routine problem solving, analytical approach to the relationship between numbers and operations, and hands-on approach to the problems on spatial relations. To help children acquire this type of analytical thinking I employ the following strategies: “model drawing”, “systematic listing”, “experimental approach” as well as “recognizing patterns”. These skills are taught in layers.
For example, to help children visualize the problems involved with ”How many more/less/fewer” questions I use “straws” activity. I distribute straws unequally between 2 children and ask the class to compare the number of straws that each child has. In addition, on the 1st grade level I teach children to look at a picture with objects lined up side by side with one of the lines/bars representing more or less. On the second grade level I teach children how to interpret and to connect the words in the problem to a model drawn by a teacher (bars drawn side by side to represent the given unequal quantities) as well as using “straws activity” and a graphic organizer with multiple situations. In older grades, I teach children to, first, draw a model to describe a more complex situation, secondly, state clearly what part of the model represents a unit, and only then write multi-step solution. The same type of approach takes place in other topics of primary level math. Some of them are: balance scales, patterns of numbers and 2-D shapes, perimeters, areas and volumes of various rectangular 2-D and 3-D figures. I employ the following resources: Singapore “Fan-Math process skills in Problem Solving” and “Challenging Word problems” for all grade levels. In addition, I use a series of books written for gifted children by Edward Zaccaro and Brain Maths by TanThoo Liang.
Click on our “Problem of the month” in different levels: 1stgrade (level 1), 2nd and 3rd grades (level 2) and 4th - 6th grades (level 3).
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