These problems, sometimes called significant or written problems, are
typical of the Session I Washington State Math Olympiad problems. Many of them come from that competition. The student must use mathematical reasoning to formulate solutions, examine alternatives and select a strategy. They are also required to communicate their findings with words, diagrams, charts and tables. These problems do not have fixed "black-and-white" answers. They must be evaluated on a scale which recognizes the above problem solution attributes.|
problems directly address the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics Problem
These problems have been organized for you, the coach, by difficulty, with the easiest problems listed first. The first 6 problems are developmental and train the student to approach the problem and to investigate possible solutions, while not being extremely difficult. Such problems allow the coach/teacher to concentrate on the other aspects of problem solution that 5th and 6th graders typically find difficult:
- communicating their thinking (writing down stuff in complete sentences),
- working in teams with each other!
- examining more than 1 strategy, (once they get an answer they think they're through!) and
- checking their results.
The first problem, the peanut problem, is especially good to start students with because:
So, if your students are new to problem solving (and writing down their thinking while they solve the problem), start with this one.
- It is easy
- It can be approached using 5 different strategies!