U2 Day 3: PD Discussion Topic


How can you challenge students with different levels of problem solving experience?


A few ways that I can challenge students with different levels of problem solving experience can be by pairing them up with a variety of other students, with different levels as well. By differentiating different and rotating them throughout the lessons, they can all grow together.


That’s a great approach to incite collaborative and mixed-level learning!


I have a good variety when it comes to learning levels in my ECS classroom of 21 students. I strategically place them in a groups of 3 or 4. In this group you will usually find a shy-non-talkative student, a higher level thinker, a lower level thinker, and at times a fourth student who is the less shy/very talkative student. This maintains a good balance in the approach of mixed-level learning because I walk around each group and eavesdrop to make sure all are contributing to the discussion and project at hand. By no means am I purporting the shyer students are not higher level thinkers it just makes a better balance and encourages he or she to contribute as well.


That’s a great approach to incite collaborative and mixed-level learning!


I believe that if you truly have a growth mindset classroom the students will challenge themselves. It is all about the culture of learning in your room.


I also like the idea of placing students in groups or pairing them up with students to solve problems or figure things out. It allows them to talk through the problem and use each others’ skills.


Encouraging students who shut down when faced with a problem is a difficult task as a teacher. I try to model for the class and the student how I approach it and discuss with them the value of grappling with a concept instead of finding a quick solution.


According to the explanation of breaking in the text, you can stack 2 pieces on top of each other and break them at the same time, which to me is one break, but it makes 4 pieces. So 2 breaks makes 4 pieces, which doesn’t match the chart, and throws off the chart when you get to a formula for N.

So I suppose that, for students of different levels, they can discuss these different ways to break the pieces and how there can be multiple answers depending on the rules of breaking.


You can turn the problem into a two dimensional problem by introducing the number of breaks for multiple candy bars or spaghetti strands to see if they could come up with a way to incorporate that. The students who are able to do it are in a good position to solve the next problem.


I told my kids that if they stacked the pieces when breaking, they still needed to count each individual break from the stack.

The ultimate solution is n-1 because no matter the number of breaks, you will always end up with one less break than the number of sections. I draw it visually for my students like this -|-|-|-|-|-|- With 6 breaks you get 7 pieces.


My ECS class is comprised of mostly upper level kids so in order to help them grow, I mix up their groups so they get used to working with people other than their normal group that they’re comfortable with. I also walk around and make sure all are participating.


One of the ways I challenge students with different levels of problem solving skills is to give different goals for different students in one group. While some of my more skilled students may be working on solving something more complex with a problem, I have the other students who aren’t as skilled work on some of the smaller details of the problem so they can help the stronger students in their task.


I usually divide them into teams of one quick learner and one struggling learner but it seems to help only if they are enjoying the activity as it relates to them. This is always an educational struggle.


By increasing the depth of the problem. Have them research other possible solutions instead of just the only one they can come up with. Throw them a few “curve balls” or situations along the way.


I normally just pair them in teams of 4. I have 40 students (mostly freshmen) but many of them intrigued and willing to learn. If there is at least one strong learner in the group the others will follow and catch on much quicker


I actually ended up not doing this activity until later, as incentive to finish another assignment. I thought with the students I had it was going to be too quick of a lesson. So I did this after the cornrow activity…and they got to choose and make a list of their top 3 candy bars…and I went shopping


Awesome Chapina, I do the same.


I try to mix those students in with students that are finding activities more challenging. Those that are finding the activities more challenging could be a student who is having trouble academically or just one who is finding it difficult to work in groups. I discuss the concept of team and attempt to get the students who are adapting better to take on leadership roles in their groups.


I appreciate everyones feedback on this topic and this specific lesson. My experience with this lesson was not the most positive, the kids were trying to find every way around rules and trying to create their own rules because the didn’t like the guidelines set up.
I will be using some of the suggestions in this post to better prepare for the lesson next time