# Math Aint Kitty Litter: Thinking Outside the Box with Nonlinear Problem Solving Alan Zollman Northern Illinois University National Council of Teachers.

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Math Aint Kitty Litter: Thinking Outside the Box with Nonlinear Problem Solving Alan Zollman Northern Illinois University National Council of Teachers of Mathematics Annual Meeting April 11, 2008 Salt Lake City, Utah

Log Rolling Apparently the ancient Egyptians moved the large stone blocks for the pyramids by rolling them on logs. If we were to attempt the same task with a large block, rolling it on 1-meter circumference logs, how far would the block travel for a single rotation of the logs?

What did you think of first?

GRAPHIC ORGANIZER One way to assist students in problem solving, communicating, reasoning, making connections, and showing representations in mathematics

Graphic organizers allow (even expect) the learner to sort information as essential or non- essential; structure information and concepts; identify relationships between concepts; and organize communication about an issue or problem.

Using a graphic organizer allows a student quickly to organize, analyze, and synthesize ones knowledge, concepts, relationships, strategy, and communication. Thinking Outside the Box

The Graphic Organizers pictorial orientation allows students to put down their ideas in whatever order they occur. It bolsters students to muck around working on a problem. Further, teachers quickly can identify where students are confused in solving a problem. Thinking Outside the Box

Relationship to the NCTM Process Standards Communications Problem Solving Reasoning and Proof Representation Connections

What do I know?Brainstorm ways to solve this. Try it here.Things I need to include in my extended-response write up Dr. Alan Zollman, Northern Illinois University Four-Corners and a Diamond Graphic Organizer What do I want to find?

What do I know?Brainstorm ways to solve this. Try it here.Things I need to include in my extended-response write up Dr. Alan Zollman, Northern Illinois University Four-Corners and a Diamond Graphic Organizer What do I want to find?

Pail Problem A small pail can be filled to 7/8 full using 2/3 of a gallon of water. How much will the pail hold if filled completely?

The Driveway Problem Sarah can sweep the driveway in 40 minutes. And Robert can sweep the driveway in 50 minutes. If Sarah begins 4 minutes before Robert joins her, how long will it take them both to finish the whole driveway?

Switch Hitter or Second Best Is Not A Contradiction 2006 2007 Career MUTT 5/50 37/5042/100 JEFF 6/50 30/4036/90

Switch Hitter or Second Best Is Not A Contradiction 2006 2007 Career MUTT 5/50 37/5042/100 JEFF 6/50 30/4036/90 2006 2007 Career MUTT0.100 0.740 0.420 JEFF0.120 0.750 0.400

Switch Hitter or Second Best Is Not A Contradiction 2006 2007 Career MUTT 5/50 37/5042/100 JEFF 6/5030/4036/90 2006 2007 Career MUTT0.100 0.740 0.420 JEFF0.120 0.750 0.400 How can Jeff have both years better than Mutt, but Mutt have a better career? Problem from Bill Speer, UNLV

Helping students use multiple representations to solve extended-response problems

TEAM Alice: Always works a problem using algebra

TEAM Alice: Always works a problem using algebra TEAM Cheryl: Always works a problem making a chart

TEAM Alice: Always works a problem using algebra TEAM Cheryl: Always works a problem making a chart TEAM Darrell: Always works a problem drawing a picture

TEAM Alice: Always works a problem using algebra TEAM Cheryl: Always works a problem making a chart TEAM Darrell: Always works a problem drawing a picture TEAM Thomas: Always works a problem guessing & testing

TEAM Alice: Always works a problem using algebra TEAM Cheryl: Always works a problem making a chart TEAM Darrell: Always works a problem drawing a picture TEAM Thomas: Always works a problem guessing & testing TEAM Marvin: Always works a problem using manipulatives

TEAM Alice: Always works a problem using algebra TEAM Cheryl: Always works a problem making a chart TEAM Darrell: Always works a problem drawing a picture TEAM Thomas: Always works a problem guessing & testing TEAM Marvin: Always works a problem using manipulatives TEAM Gwen: Always works a problem graphing it

Tiling the Patio Problem You are to tile a patio. The patio will be a square, with the inside tiles always being blue and the border tiles always being white. A 5X 5 patio is shown below. How many blue tiles do you need for: a)A 7x 7 patio; b)A 25 x 25 patio; c)An n x n patio? Source: NCTM Principles & Standards for School Mathematics

TEAM Alice: Always works a problem using algebra TEAM Cheryl: Always works a problem making a chart TEAM Darrell: Always works a problem drawing a picture TEAM Thomas: Always works a problem guessing & testing TEAM Marvin: Always works a problem using manipulatives TEAM Gwen: Always works a problem graphing it

What about Polyas four steps problem-solving hierarchy ? 1.Understand the problem. 2.Devise a plan 3.Carry out the plan. 4.Look back.

What about Polyas four steps problem-solving hierarchy ? Students mistakenly feel that Polyas problem solving steps need to be accomplished in order. Our graphic organizer varies from Polya, not in intent, but in deployment.

Assessing for mathematical knowledge, strategy, and explanation in problem solving

Helping Students Self-Reflect In cooperative groups have students: Students help design an abbreviated rubric that includes mathematical knowledge, strategy, and explanation They assess student work using rubric They give recommendations to the student

score Knowledge How well did they do on the problem? Strategy How well did they plan? Explanation How well did they describe it? 4 They got everything correct They got everything planned They explained why they did everything 3 They got most everything correct They got most everything planned They explained most of why they did things 2 They got some of it correct They got some of it planned They explained some of why they did things 1 They got a little of it correct They got a little of it planned They explained a little of why they did things 0 They did not tryThey did not try to plan They did not try to explain

Before

Same student after!

Before

Same student after!

Results

PRETEST SCORES 27% average N=186 Students POSTTEST SCORES 70% average N=183 Students OPEN-ENDED RESPONSE QUESTIONS Illinois Standards Achievement Test (ISAT) Scoring Rubric Grades 6-8

PRETEST State meets or exceeds 4% in Math Knowledge, 19% in Strategic Knowledge 8% in Explanation N=186 Students POSTTEST State meets or exceeds 75% in Math Knowledge, 68% in Strategic Knowledge 68% in Explanation N=183 Students Using ISAT Scoring Rubric Results for Grades 6-8

Grades 3-5 Results n = 240

Reflections From research (National Reading Panel 2000), we know graphic organizers work well with elementary students in the reading-writing process. A good learning strategy for reading and writing is also a good teaching method in mathematics.

Reflections For students, graphic organizers have overlapping effects in connecting, communicating, justifying, and solving mathematical problems. For teachers, graphic organizers offer a quick, efficient diagnosis of the weaknesses and strengths in individual student s problem-solving abilities and skills. For teachers, graphic organizers a comfortable, familiar method to facilitate problem-solving instruction.

references: Four Square Writing Method for Grades 1-3 written by Judith S. and Evan Jay Gould published by Teaching and Learning Company, Carthage, Illinois. (1999). Four Corners Graphic Organizer for Open-Ended Mathematical Problem Solving Alan Zollman, NIMS Mathematics-Science Partnership. (2004). Four Corners Graphic Organizer for Open-Ended Mathematical Problem Solving Alan Zollman, MSTD Mathematics-Science Partnership. (2005). http://www.mstd-d41-d4.niu.edu/ http://www.mstd-d41-d4.niu.edu/ Four Corners Graphic Organizer for Open-Ended Mathematical Problem Solving Alan Zollman, Raising The MEANs Mathematics-Science Partnership. (2005). http://www.means-d131.niu.edu/http://www.means-d131.niu.edu/ Four Corners is Better Than Four Squares in Math Alan Zollman, ICTM 57th Annual Meeting, Springfield, IL. (Oct. 14, 2005). Illinois Assessment web site: http://www.isbe.net/assessmenthttp://www.isbe.net/assessment Council of Chief State School Officers;Surveys of EnactedCurr.(SEC) http://www.ccsso.org/projects/surveys_of_enacted_curriculum/ Simmons Middle School Results: East Aurora District 131 Karen Lopez, MEANs Partnership Showcase, DeKalb, IL. (Apr. 6, 2006).

Dr. Alan Zollman Dept. of Mathematical Sciences Northern Illinois University DeKalb, IL 60115 815/753-6750 zollman@math.niu.edu http://www.math.niu.edu/~zollman zollman@math.niu.edu http://www.math.niu.edu/~zollman zollman@math.niu.edu http://www.math.niu.edu/~zollman

http://www.mstd-d41-d4.niu.edu/ http://www.means-d131.niu.edu/ partially supported by the Illinois Mathematics and Science Partnerships Program/ISBE/ US Department of Education, funded by NCLB, Title II, Part B, US DOE

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