Developing mathematicians through problem solving (All Levels)


Five years ago I designed a course to develop problem-solving skills in pre-service maths teachers at the University of South Australia. We focus on mathematical processes, not any particular branch of mathematics. We learn and practice strategies for: getting started; attacking the problem (e.g., specialising and generalising, being systematic, forming and justifying conjectures); and reflecting on and extending our work. Classes are centred around carefully-chosen puzzles and activities, paired with explicit coaching in mathematical processes, metacognition and collaborative learning. In short, I aim to: develop students’ mathematical thinking skills so that they can tackle unfamiliar problems with confidence, help them experience the joy in asking and answering their own questions, and orient them towards the creative ways in which professional mathematicians like myself work.

In this session we’ll look at the design and delivery of this course. We’ll sample some good problems for uncovering aspects of problem-solving, and talk about specific strategies for progressively developing oral presentation and mathematical writing skills. We’ll also tackle the thorny issue of assessment, including how to support students to undertake in-depth mathematical investigations of their own choosing.

My goal is that you’ll find one or two specific ideas that will help in your current teaching or, if you have the opportunity, to inspire you to design your own problem-solving course.

Amie Albrecht

Session Code Session Date Session Start Session Finish Session Location Places Remaining
F-1 07/12/2018 09:00 am 10:00 am La Trobe University


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