Problem Solving
Activity 1: Penny Problems
Learning Objectives related to Curriculum: Planning to solve a problem  designing a plan and following it through P2 
Number of Students: 1 or small group 
Resources/Materials: Pennies Task cards with diagrams Envelopes with solutions Source Acknowledgment: Bolt, B. Mathematical Activities

Activity Description: This activity includes three different penny problems that are outlined on task cards, with the solutions in labeled envelopes. The tasks are clearly described and involve critical thinking skills and the process of guess and test, and working systematically. 
CELS: Numeracy, Critical and Creative Thinking, Personal and Social Values and Skills if working as a team 
Adaptation/Variation/Extension: students could add their own penny problems to this activity and have others solve them. if these are difficult, an example of a similar problem could be done with the whole class. 
Evaluation: self assessment anecdotal records performance assessment  notebook 
Reflection/Additional Comments: Could be an interesting activity to work on in groups rather than alone and watch what kind of communication takes place. 
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Problem Solving
Activity 2: Toothpick Problems
Learning Objectives related to Curriculum: Planning to solve a problem demonstrate understanding of the problem and solve by using the toothpick manipulatives P1, P2 
Number of Students: 1 or small group 
Resources/Materials: Toothpicks Task cards with diagrams Envelopes with solutions Source Acknowledgment: Adapted from Bolt, B. Mathematical Activities 
Activity Description: This activity includes three different toothpick problems that are outlined and diagrammed on task cards, with the solutions in labeled envelopes. The tasks are clearly described and involve critical thinking skills, understanding the problem, the process of guess and test, and working systematically. 
CELS: Numeracy, Critical and Creative Thinking, Personal and Social Values and Skills if working as a team 
Adaptation/Variation/Extension: students could add their own toothpick problems to this activity and have others solve them. if these are difficult, an example of a similar problem could be done with the whole class. 
Evaluation: self assessment anecdotal records performance assessment  notebook 
Reflection/Additional Comments: Could be an interesting activity to work on in groups rather than alone and watch what kind of communication takes place. 
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Problem Solving
Activity 3: A Bag of Marbles
Learning Objectives related to Curriculum: Problem solving using given information, working backwards from known information, working systematically P1, P2

Number of Students: 1 or small group 
Resources/Materials: Task card Bag of Marbles Pencil and paper
Source Acknowledgment: Adapted from activity in Saskatchewan Grade 5 Curriculum Guide, page 504

Activity Description: Figure out the following problem: A bag of marbles contains catseyes, blue, green, and white marbles. How many of each are there if: The number of green is half the catseyes There are more white than green There are three times as many green as blue There are twelve catseyes. 
CELS: Numeracy, Critical and Creative Thinking, Personal and Social Values and Skills if working as a team 
Adaptation/Variation/Extension:  students could use the marbles to make up other problems for friends to solve find other objects to make similar problems about 
Evaluation: self assessment anecdotal records performance assessment  notebook 
Reflection/Additional Comments: There are excellent problems such as these in many problemsolving books. Having the materials to work with (and to help check the solution) makes problem solving more interesting for students. 
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Problem Solving
Activity 4: The Koala Bear
Learning Objectives related to Curriculum: Problem solving using a picture to understand the problem and figure out a method for solving it. P1, P2 
Number of Students: 1 or small group 
Resources/Materials: Task card Pencil and paper
Acknowledgment: Reprinted with permission from The Arithemic Teacher, Volume 32, Number 2, copyright 1984 by the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. All rights reserved. 
Activity Description: Koala Bear Problem A sleepy koala bear wants to climb to the top of a fruit tree that is 10 meters tall. Each day the bear climbs up 5 meters but at night, while asleep, slides back 4 meters. At this rate how many days will it take the bear to reach the top of the tree. Draw a picture to help you solve the problem. Use scrap paper or graph paper. ******Questions for understanding: How tall is the tree? How far did the bear climb during the day? How far did the bear slip back at night? What does reach the top mean? ******Hints for solving The answer is not ten days. Use your picture to see why.

CELS: Numeracy, Critical and Creative Thinking 
Adaptation/Variation/Extension:  students could design a problem around a picture  if difficult, solve a class problem using the picture method to give students the idea 
Evaluation: self assessment anecdotal records performance assessment  notebook learning contract 
Reflection/Additional Comments: There are excellent problems such as these in many problemsolving books. Students usually enjoy drawing pictures and will welcome this as a problem solving strategy 
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Problem Solving
Activity 5: Magazine Problem Solving
Learning Objectives related to Curriculum: Designing and using appropriate strategies to solve "real life" problems from magazine P1, P2 
Number of Students: 1 or 2 
Resources/Materials: Task card Pencil and paper Magazine (s)
Source Acknowledgment:

Activity Description: The task card describes a number of "problems" which can be found using various pages in the magazine. Students must develop strategies to solve the problems 
CELS: Numeracy, Critical and Creative Thinking 
Adaptation/Variation/Extension:  students could design their own problems and give them to a friend to solve. 
Evaluation: self assessment anecdotal records performance assessment  notebook learning contract observation checklist 
Reflection/Additional Comments: After an example of this activity had been done in class, it may be a good idea to have each student or pair of students look through a magazine and design their own problems which can be solved and then passed on to other students and solved. 
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Problem Solving
Activity 6: Video Arcade
Learning Objectives related to Curriculum: Problem solving using a table P2 (m) 
Number of Students: 1 or 2 
Resources/Materials: Task card with laminated chart Dry erase marker
Source Acknowledgment: Bieniek, D. One Minute Challenges, Math and Reasoning

Activity Description: There are four different video games at Lulu's Arcade. Dennis, Olivia, Joey, and Grace each play one video game. Then they move to the next video game, one that they haven't played yet, until each person has played all four games. During the second round, Dennis played Game 1, and Olivia played Game 3. During the third round, Joey played Game 2 and Grace played Game 4. During the fourth round, Olivia played Game 2 and Grace played Game 3. Figure out which game was played by each child for each of the four rounds. 
CELS: Numeracy, Critical and Creative Thinking, Communication if solving problem as a group 
Adaptation/Variation/Extension:  students could work as a group to discover the answer to the problem  problem could be "acted out" in class 
Evaluation: self assessment anecdotal records performance assessment  notebook 
Reflection/Additional Comments: Using a chart or table is a useful way to solve many problems. Teachers could demonstrate the use of tables by using them in other ways so students are familiar with how to record information in a table. 
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