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Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Problem of the Week

I assign a problem of the week (POW) every other week as homework for my 7th and 8th grade students. A typical problem might be the locker problem from a previous post. I have them write a very specific essay to explain their work and reflect on the process. This is what it looks like:

How To Write a POW Essay

Purpose: Learn to think deeply about a non routine math problem and explain procedures, concepts and solutions.

Format: You will need to write a four paragraph essay. You may do this either by hand or on the computer, but it must be very LEGIBLE. You must staple your essay to the back of the POW problem.

Your essay should follow this outline:

1. Introduction
• Title of POW.
• Restate the problem in your own words.
• Identify the pertinent information of the problem.
• What are the main math topics imbedded in this problem.

2. Procedure
• Describe the steps you used to solve this problem.
• How did you know which strategies to use?
• What resources did you use? (books, tools, people etc.).
• Describe any problems and how you dealt with them.

3. Solution
• Describe your solution clearly. If you don’t have a solution,
describe what blocked you.
• How do you know your solution is correct?
• Are there other possible answers?

4. Your Learning
•How did this problem challenge you?
• How did you manage your time?
• What might you do differently next time?

IMPORTANT: Your essay should NOT exceed one page typed on the computer at 12 font or two sides of a paper handwritten at normal sized and neat writing. If there are tables or diagrams, you may use another sheet of paper, but clearly label your work. If your written work exceeds these limits, I will deduct 1 or 2 points from the grade.

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