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Problem-Solving Resources – Robert Kaplinsky

Robert Kaplinsky’s website is devoted to helping students become better problem solvers, critical thinkers, and mathematical reasoners. His website contains a number of free, downloadable lesson plans that are built around real-life situations and take a problem-based learning approach. The lessons are leveled from Kindergarten through 8th grade, with additional lessons for Algebra and Geometry.

Many of the lessons could be included as math or numeracy practice in integrated and contextualized lessons or units that focus on larger themes, such as safety, transportation, health literacy, and financial literacy. The lessons contain high-interest materials, such as videos and infographics, and they are aligned to content standards. Of particular interest is his Problem Solving Framework, which gives students a series of questions to think about as they try to solve a problem.

    • Define the Problem: What problem are you trying to figure out? What estimates do you have? 
    • Analyze the Problem: What info do you already know the problem? What info do you need about the problem? 
    • Solve the Problem: What is your conclusion? How did you reach that conclusion?

This framework has useful applications both inside and outside of the math classroom, and could be used to help students unpack a writing prompt, understand a complex question on the GED test, and so on.