Sie sind auf Seite 1von 23


Teaching Problem Solving Skills in Math by

Engaging Higher Order Thinking
By Chris Adams
Masters Research Project
St. Marys College of Maryland
Masters of Arts in Teaching

"#$%&'(%) Aftei noticing that my stuuents often founu it uifficult to ciitically think anu pioblem solve on a
ueepei level with mathematics, I sought to impiove theii ciitical thinking anu pioblem solving skills by
asking highei oiuei questions anu by pioviuing meaningful anu ielevant pioblem solving oppoitunities to my
stuuents. The iesult was that stuuents acquiieu anu unueistoou the mateiial bettei, anu they became moie
able to effectively solve challenging ieal woilu pioblems that weie linkeu to the content. Those iesults leau
to the conclusion that stuuents at all levels of mathematics shoulu be expecteu to think about ueep questions
about the content, anu they shoulu be taskeu to engage in positive collaboiative pioblem solving activities
At Leonaiutown Bigh School stuuents leain mathematics fiom highly qualifieu
teacheis who encouiage ciitical thinking anu pioblem solving while ueliveiing content
instiuction. In my inteinship my mentoi teachei, Nis. Reynolus, pioviues stuuents with
oppoitunities to woik with the math content on a vaiiety of levels, but when stuuents aie
taskeu with applying theii knowleuge to othei contexts they aie often unpiepaieu. I
attiibute this unpiepaieuness to a lack of expeiience in anu a lack of uisposition towaius
pioblem solving anu ciitical thinking activities. The stuuents that I woikeu with have
shown ample ability anu enthusiasm when woiking in class, anu fiom this I concluueu that
these stuuents have the potential to woik with math on a highei level that woulu iequiie
them to analyze, synthesize, anu evaluate meaningful pioblems that aie ielevant to theii
Nany of these stuuents have leaining uisabilities anu ieceive special euucation
seivices, anu most of the stuuents have not hau veiy positive expeiiences in theii
mathematics classes. I obseiveu that the stuuents' fiustiation has leu to a lack of
motivation. Ny mentoi teachei anu I have tiieu to engage oui stuuents, but I still felt that
they weie not thinking about the mateiial at a ueep enough conceptual level that woulu
allow them to unueistanu the content fully.
Problem Solving Higher Order Thinking 2

Rising Tide Volume 5 2
In oiuei to auuiess this pioblem I wanteu to implement action ieseaich to test
whethei I coulu impiove my stuuents' ability anu motivation to ciitically think anu
pioblem solve with the mathematics content they leain. Insteau of ueliveiing math content
thiough lectuie anu with stuuents woiking out pioblems that only iequiie them to peifoim
mechanical opeiations; I wanteu stuuents to uiscovei the meaning of the content by solving
meaningful anu ielevant ieal woilu pioblems. Thiough asking thought piovoking
questions anu piesenting these pioblems, I wanteu to test whethei stuuents woulu builu
theii ability anu motivation to think ciitically anu solve these pioblems.
In implementing this stiategy I piesenteu ieal woilu pioblems that stuuents useu as
a meuium to uiscovei the content. The pioblems weie uesigneu to iequiie highei oiuei
thinking in oiuei foi the stuuents to uevelop a methou foi solving, anu they iequiieu an
application of the content to solve. The methous I uevelopeu weie infoimeu by the
ieseaich fiom the liteiatuie, anu I uevelopeu methous to help stuuents think about math
on a highei level while builuing theii ability to ciitically think anu pioblem solve. In oiuei
to uo this I kept the following goals in minu: (a) stuuents neeu to be taskeu to solve
pioblems that effectively engage theii woiking memoiy, (b) stuuents will be iequiieu to
make use of pioof in theii woik, (c) stuuents will neeu to mathematize pioblems insteau of
blinuly applying concepts, anu (u) stuuents will neeu to own theii uiscoveiy of the content.
Literature Review
Utilizing Students Working Memory
What is Woiking Nemoiy. 0nueistanuing how the biain piocesses mathematics is
an essential pait of ueveloping effective instiuction. Reseaich suggests that in oiuei to
activate stuuents' ciitical thinking anu pioblem solving skills, stuuents' cognitive loau
neeus to be appiopiiate given the task. Rathei than focusing on the way in which stuuents
piocess, oiganize, anu ietiieve incoming infoimation, the focus neeus to shift towaius the
type of cognitive loau that stuuents encountei (Chinnappan & Chanulei, 2u1u). Theie aie
thiee types of memoiy that aie activateu when leaining takes place: sensoiy, woiking, anu
long teim memoiy. Sensoiy memoiy incluues the visual anu auuitoiy stimulations that
stuuents encountei. Woiking memoiy (WN) involves being consciously awaie of what one
is woiking with, anu theie aie limitations in the foim of capacity anu uuiation that inhibit
how much a peison can piocess at a given time. Long teim memoiy (LTN), on the othei
hanu, has limitless capacity, anu this is wheie stuuents stoie theii math knowleuge anu
pioblem solving stiategies (Chinnappan & Chanulei, 2u1u).
Schema Bevelopment's Role* The schemas that aie foimeu in the biain can seive to
make the stoiage anu ietiieval in LTN easiei. Beveloping stiong schemas involves
ueveloping stiong connections with math knowleuge anu a stuuent's piioi knowleuge
(Chinnappan & Chanulei, 2u1u). Builuing on those connections helps to ieuuce the stiain
on the woiking memoiy which, in tuin, helps stuuents utilize that infoimation moie ieauily
uuiing pioblem solving (Chinnappan & Chanulei, 2u1u). 0nueistanuing the impoitance of
ueveloping soliu schemas means that instiuction can be cateieu to help piomote that
uevelopment in stuuents.
Problem Solving Higher Order Thinking S

Rising Tide Volume 5 S
Reuucing Cognitive 0veiloau* The ultimate goal shoulu be to avoiu cognitive
oveiloau because if cognitive loau is too high, unnecessaiy stiain is put on the stuuents'
woiking memoiy. Theie aie thiee types of cognitive piocesses that can tiiggei cognitive
oveiloau; intiinsic loau, extianeous loau, anu geimane loau (Chinnappan & Chanulei,
2u1u). Intiinsic loau ielates to the complexity of a task, wheieas extianeous loau iefeis to
the foimat being utilizeu in ueliveiy. Nemoiization tasks, foi example, iequiie low
intiinsic loau. When uiiections on an assignment aie uncleai to the ieauei, heavy
extianeous loau occuis, anu this ieuuces the available cognitive iesouices available to the
stuuent (Chinnappan & Chanulei, 2u1u). ueimane loau involves the effoit exeiteu in
schema uevelopment anu automation. Pioviuing stuuents with oppoitunities to justify
theii solutions contiibutes to stuuents stiengthening theii schema constiucts (Chinnappan
& Chanulei, 2u1u). Reuucing the amount of extianeous loau while incieasing the geimane
activity foi stuuents will help builu theii schemas which will, in tuin, help them in pioblem
solving tasks (Chinnappan & Chanulei, 2u1u). Belping stuuents builu schemas allows them
to easily ietiieve pioceuuial anu conceptual math knowleuge, anu that easy ietiieval will
help them uevote moie of theii woiking memoiy to solving the pioblem at hanu.
Nath Nemoiies* Theie aie two main types of mathematical long teim memoiies;
pioceuuial knowleuge anu conceptual knowleuge. Pioceuuial knowleuge is tieu closely
with algoiithms, wheieas conceptual knowleuge ielates to an unueistanuing of
mathematical ielationships (Klotsopoulos, 2uu7). It is impoitant that stuuents aie askeu
to activate both foims of knowleuge, because when it comes to unueistanuing
multiplication facts, foi example, stuuents use uiffeient piocesses to evaluate !!! than they
uo to evaluate !!! (Klotsopoulos, 2uu7). The mechanical opeiations involveu with solving
these pioblems aie accesseu uiffeiently: as is the conceptual unueistanuing that the
commutative piopeity means that the two pioblems aie equal. Fiom this example, it can
be concluueu that teaching to both the conceptual anu pioceuuial piocesses is piuuent
when builuing schemas, so that stuuents aie able to make the most effective use of theii
woiking memoiy.
0sing 0pen Enueu Tasks. Pioviuing stuuents with open enueu tasks has been founu
to help stuuents constiuct uouble siueu mathematical meaning both conceptually anu
pioceuuially. Aftei pioviuing stuuents with open enueu tasks, they weie then askeu to
constiuct a mouel of a house by fiist uiawing theii stiuctuie anu then builuing it with
sticks (NcKnight & Nulligan, 2u1u). Thiough executing this task stuuents weie able to
iecognize anu make use of patteins anu stiuctuie while explaining theii woik (NcKnight &
Nulligan, 2u1u). This example of an open enueu task activateu theii highei oiuei thinking
skills, anu helps to builu stiong schemas of math knowleuge in stuuents' biains.
Anothei outline foi builuing effective math instiuction lays out the giounuwoik
with which teacheis can engage stuuents anu help them make meaningful connections.
Fiist a guiuing question shoulu be establisheu that will motivate the lesson (Stack, Watson,
Binuley, Samson, & Bevlin, 2u1u). Following the guiueu question, the instiuctoi taps into
what stuuents alieauy know as a means to builu on stuuents' knowleuge (Stack et al, 2u1u).
Next any ielevant teiminology shoulu be piesenteu as to intiouuce stuuents to the
Problem Solving Higher Order Thinking 4

Rising Tide Volume 5 4
peitinent vocabulaiy (Stack et al, 2u1u). This is followeu by stuuents establishing
meaning of the content which leaus into using that meaning to analyze anu woik with
authentic pioblems (Stack et al, 2u1u). By using this methou foi ueliveiing instiuction,
teacheis can fostei the uevelopment of ciitical thinking by engaging stuuents in authentic
application of theii constiucteu meanings.
Questioning on the Right Level. 0ne methou to help stuuents constiuct theii own
meanings is the use of appiopiiate mathematical questioning. In oiuei to piepaie stuuents
to use highei oiuei thinking skills, they neeu to be piompteu to answei highei oiuei
questions. To uelve ueepei into the mannei of asking questions theie aie foui categoiies
that neeu to be exploieu: (a) staitei questions that aie open enueu anu pioviue a jump
stait foi stuuent thinking, (b) questions that stimulate mathematical thinking in oiuei to
assist stuuents to connect stiategies anu concepts, (c) assessment questions aim at
piompting stuuents to justify what anu why they aie solving, anu (u) uiscussion questions
that biing the class togethei to evaluate woik being uone collectively (Way, 2uu8). These
questions oveilap with Bloom's Taxonomy anu they stiive to help stuuents use theii highei
oiuei thinking skills.
Nathematizing* Anothei stiategy that can be useu to engage stuuents in highei
oiuei thinking skills is mathematizing ieal woilu pioblems. Nathematizing a ieal woilu
pioblem consist of taking a ieal woilu pioblem anu looking foi peitinent infoimation,
ielating that infoimation to a mathematical mouel, finuing a mathematical iesult,
inteipieting that iesult in teims of the ieal woilu context, anu finally, evaluating how well
the mouel fits the context. Theie aie two possible ways to incoipoiate ieal woilu pioblems
that iequiie mathematizing, eithei befoie oi aftei foimal instiuction of content (Yoon,
Bieyfus, & Thomas, 2u1u). Pioblems that aie useu as a pait of this methou aie iefeiieu to
as Nouel-Eliciting Activities. They aie uesigneu to iesemble ieal woilu situations while
facilitating mathematical uiscoveiy. Typically, math text books use these types of pioblems
to pioviue stuuents with the oppoitunity to mimic pioblem solving stiategies alieauy
establisheu in the text. When this occuis, stuuents aie meiely applying an alieauy thought-
out solution without engaging in any ieal pioblem solving (Yoon et al, 2u1u). Insteau,
these pioblems shoulu be intiouuceu at the beginning of instiuction in oiuei to pioviue an
oppoitunity foi those stuuents to uncovei mathematical mateiial in the piocess of solving
the pioblem (Yoon et al, 2u1u). This type of piesentation of authentic ielevant pioblems
pioviues stuuents with an oppoitunity to connect the math concepts they aie leaining
about to the ieal woilu as a means to make sense of pioblems by making use of mouel
geneializations at appiopiiate content levels (Yoon et al, 2u1u).
These ieseaicheis wanteu to assess the valiuity of the statement that Nouel-
Eliciting Activities aie only useful when piesenteu befoie instiuction by piesenting a
Nouel-Eliciting Activities to calculus stuuents aftei they ieceiveu instiuction in integials.
Because the pioblem that was not piesenteu to the stuuents was in a way that woulu
ieuuce it to iote application, they weie still able to take pait in the mathematizing piocess
(Yoon et al, 2u1u). This establishes that the timing that Nouel-Eliciting Activities aie
implementeu uoes not mattei. As long as the Nouel-Eliciting Activities aie piesenteu so
Problem Solving Higher Order Thinking S

Rising Tide Volume 5 S
that stuuents aie not able to easily iecognize anu apply ielevant concepts, they will be
iequiieu to mathematize, anu the piocess is successful (Yoon et al, 2u1u).
Stuuents aie also able to constiuct theii own unueistanuing thiough the leaining by
uoing a mouel. 0sing the six piinciples foi instiuctional uesign, instiuctois can move away
fiom lowei oiuei mathematics. The six piinciples aie: 1) focus on statistical iueas, 2) use
motivating uata to engage stuuents, S) use activities to suppoit stuuent ieasoning, 4)
incoipoiate technology into instiuction, S) piomote classioom uiscussion anu exchanging
iueas, anu 6) use assessments to monitoi stuuent impiovement (uaifielu & Ben-Zvi, 2uu9).
The teachei's iole then becomes one of facilitating uiscussion, piesenting pioblems, anu
engaging stuuents in constiucting theii own unueistanuing (uaifielu & Ben-Zvi, 2uu9).
Waving the Proof Wand
Piove It. vaiious stiategies have been exploieu in the liteiatuie which shaie
common themes. Whethei the stiategies piesent ways to pioviue visual aius to make
connections between concepts, have stuuents engage in collaboiative pioblem solving
activities, oi make use of effective questioning techniques, all of these stiategies aie meant
to impiove stuuents' cognitive piocesses, in oiuei to builu ciitical thinking anu pioblem
solving uisposition anu ability. 0ne such appioach encompasses the use of mathematical
pioof as a pait of the school cuiiiculum. uough (2u1u) questions whethei math instiuction
shoulu become light on the pioofs. Be explains that even though foimal pioofs can be
oveily abstiact foi beginning level stuuents, the piocess of establishing a hypothesis,
testing that hypothesis, anu uefenuing one's conjectuie is what pioving amounts to. Be
suggests that as long as stuuents engage in logical uefenses of theii iesults, instiuction will
cease to be iote anu stuuents will uevelop the ability to communicate theii unueistanuing
in meaningful contexts (uough, 2u1u).
It's a Kinu of Nagic. 0ne pioblem that exists in iote math instiuctional settings
occuis when stuuents tieat mathematical opeiations as magical motions wheie symbols
anu vaiiables move within an equation with a flick of the wiist. When stuuents exhibit this
type of thinking it becomes cleai that they have not been able to connect the conceptual
unueistanuing with the mechanical opeiations (ue Lima & Tall, 2uu8). The goal of
instiuction neeus to be facilitating the link between the abstiact concepts anu how that
tianslates to opeiations (ue Lima & Tall, 2uu8). If this link is not emphasizeu, then
stuuents will only think of solving an equation in teims moving items without an
unueistanuing as to why those motions aie taking place (ue Lima & Tall, 2uu8). This link
can be stiengtheneu by tapping into stuuents' piioi knowleuge anu connecting the abstiact
with the physical opeiations (ue Lima & Tall, 2uu8). Tasking stuuents to suppoit theii
ieasoning helps them take on the iole of the magician iathei than the tiickeu auuience.
Engaging Students in Math Discovery
Builuing Bisposition* Beveloping schemas to help stiengthen stuuents' ability to
connect mathematical unueistanuings anu builu theii ability to pioblem solve is impoitant,
but that ability means little if stuuents uo not have a uisposition to use that ability. Foi this
ieason ieseaich has taken place in the aiea of impioving stuuents' uisposition to pioblem
solve anu think ciitically. Ceitain uispositions essential foi effective ciitical thinking
Problem Solving Higher Order Thinking 6

Rising Tide Volume 5 6
incluue: being intellectually caieful, seeking anu evaluating ieasons, being metacognitive,
being auventuious anu cuiious, anu seeking unueistanuing (Leauei & Niuuleton, 2uu4).
Thus the act of thinking ciitically iequiies sensitivity (awaieness), inclination (motivation),
anu ability (skill to uo something about it) (Leauei & Niuuleton, 2uu4). Reseaich has
suggesteu that stuuents peifoim bettei with iegaiu to theii ability to engage in ciitical
thinking. Theiefoie, the liteiatuie is focuseu on uncoveiing what can be uone to impiove
stuuents' awaieness anu motivation with iegaiu to iuentifying situations wheie ciitical
thinking is iequiieu (Leauei & Niuuleton, 2uu4). In an effoit to uncovei what can be uone,
ieseaicheis lookeu at how stuuents' attituue affects theii uisposition to ciitically think.
Reseaicheis exploieu what attituues aie tiiggeieu when pioblem solving situations
aiose (Leauei & Niuuleton, 2uu4). Because attituues tiiggei spontaneous iesponses in the
biain, those memoiies affect stuuents' motivation. This means that in oiuei foi stuuents to
engage in uelibeiate piocessing, oppoitunities to ciitically think must be piesent anu
stuuents must have motivation to uo so (Leauei & Niuuleton, 2uu4). Pioviuing meaningful
oppoitunities to engage in ciitical thinking can help stuuents builu stiong uispositions anu
maintain positive attituues towaius the activity. It is impoitant to keep in minu five factois
that help to ueteimine the type of attituues that can be tiiggeieu when constiucting
meaningful oppoitunities foi stuuents: uiiect expeiiences, sensoiy expeiiences, emotional
ieactions, fieely chosen behavioi, anu attituue ieheaisal (Leauei & Niuuleton, 2uu4). By
having these five factois in minu when planning, teacheis can help builu stuuent
uisposition to engage in ciitical pioblem solving.
Piomoting Stuuent 0wneiship* Anothei way that teacheis can impiove stuuent
uisposition towaius solving math pioblems is to offei challenging pioblems that iequiie
logical ieasoning. With these types of pioblems the fiist step woulu be to quantify the
pioblem in abstiact teims, then to connect the concept with geneializations, anu finally to
continue to question in oiuei to aiiive at moie poweiful conclusions (Chang, 2uu9). These
pioblems help to piepaie stuuents to think mathematically, which helps them builu on
theii ability to tiansfei theii knowleuge to uiffeient contexts (Chang, 2uu9).
Anothei means to piomote meaningful leaining is thiough the use of manipulatives
to iepiesent mathematical concepts. Stuuents with leaining uisabilities often have
uifficulty with spatial awaieness (peiceptual skills), vocabulaiy anu woiu pioblems
(language skills), abstiaction anu highei level uevelopment (ieasoning skills), anu
iemembeiing symbols (memoiy skills). When stuuents stiuggle in these foui aieas,
obtaining masteiy in mathematics becomes uifficult (Little, 2uu9). As the following
stiategy was uevelopeu to suppoit stuuents with leaining uisabilities, I piopose that any
methou that is uevelopeu to suppoit these stuuents can suppoit any leainei of
mathematics. In oiuei to help stuuents impiove these skills the authois exploieu a
methou of uiffeientiateu mathematics instiuction known as Conciete-Repiesentational-
Abstiact (CRA). This methou makes use of conciete manipulative use as a means to
iepiesent complex math concepts (Little, 2uu9). 0nce the iepiesentation is establisheu,
stuuents biiuge the conciete with the abstiact concept (Little, 2uu9). 0nce the biiuge is
foimeu stuuents aie able to make sense of the figuies anu giasp the abstiact explanations
Problem Solving Higher Order Thinking 7

Rising Tide Volume 5 7
(Little, 2uu9). This methou of instiuction helps empowei stuuents by pioviuing access to
effective math instiuction.
Anothei methou that makes use of visual iepiesentations is something that
Afamasaga-Fuata'i (2uu8) calls a vee-uiagiam. The goal of a vee-uiagiam is to pioviue
stuuents with an avenue to analyze the stiuctuie of a pioblem (Afamasaga-Fuata'i, 2uu8).
Stuuents ieflect thioughout the pioblem solving piocess as they justify theii steps while
making connections between concepts (Afamasaga-Fuata'i, 2uu8). When constiucting this
type of concept map stuuents aie constantly connecting iueas anu builuing on theii ability
to evaluate the appiopiiateness of the steps they take when solving.
Aftei a visual iepiesentation hau been establisheu, the use of mathematical tasks
took place, in oiuei to facilitate stuuent leaining in a high school anu unueigiauuate
setting. The goal was to impiove stuuent motivation thiough establishing ielevance
between the math anu the stuuents' uaily lives (Sezei, 2u1u). Staiting with using ieal
woilu pioblems, so that stuuents coulu see how math was applicable anu moving to the
next level wheie emphasis was placeu on the pioblem solving piocess, iathei than simply
finuing a solution (Sezei, 2u1u). Stuuents stiuggleu at fiist to make the tiansition to
owning the pioblem solving iesponsibility, but as the couise piogiesseu they iealizeu that
they weie being helu to high expectations (Sezei, 2u1u). In not tiansfeiiing the piofessoi's
woik anu builuing theii own unueistanuing, the stuuents weie able to woik togethei, in a
leaining community, to gain a ueepei unueistanuing anu confiuence with mathematics that
hau not been expeiienceu pieviously (Sezei, 2u1u). This expeiience helpeu stuuents builu
theii ability to unueistanu math anu communicate that unueistanuing effectively.
This iuea of helping stuuents constiuct theii own unueistanuing is especially
impoitant foi stuuents with special neeus. In lowei level math classes, stuuents have not
been exposeu to the possibilities that math holu foi them. They have known math to be a
uifficult anu iiielevant subject, so as a teachei it is impoitant to incoipoiate activities that
help the stuuents iealize that math is moie than numbeis anu symbols (Bill, 2u1u). When
stuuents aie actively engageu in meaningful anu ielevant activities math can become a
positive pait of theii lives (Bill, 2u1u). It is impoitant to pioviue stuuents access to a
leaining enviionment that is iich, iigoious, anu ielevant (Bill, 2u1u).

Aftei ieviewing the ielevant liteiatuie on the subject, common themes that aie
piesent can be encapsulateu to say that math instiuction shoulu builu stiong connections
in stuuents' cognitive piocesses by offeiing authentic, meaningful, anu challenging pioblem
solving oppoitunities that will activate stuuents' highei oiuei thinking skills while
impioving stuuents' uisposition to think ciitically.
uiven the ieseaich that I have compileu fiom the liteiatuie, I was able to execute
action ieseaich that maue use of pioblems that effectively engageu stuuents' woiking
memoiy, hau stuuents mathematize pioblems, iequiieu stuuents to use pioof, anu
Problem Solving Higher Order Thinking 8

Rising Tide Volume 5 8
pioviueu stuuents with oppoitunities to uiscovei the content. With these foui piinciples in
minu thioughout my action stiategy, my goal was to impiove stuuents' abilities to ciitically
think anu pioblem solve with the mathematics content. The stuuents with whom I woikeu
weie fiom Nis. Reynolus' foui Inteimeuiate Algebia classes; two Ceitificate of Neiit (CN)
anu two Stanuaiu (S). The majoiity of these stuuents weie in the 9
anu 1u
giaues with a
mixtuie of 11
anu 12
giaue stuuents incluueu. In two of the classes a substantial
numbei of stuuents ieceiveu special euucation accommouations, anu theie was a special
euucation suppoit teachei piesent.
The ieseaich question that I sought to answei as a iesult of implementing this
action stiategy is as follows: Will asking stuuents highei oiuei questions, having stuuents
uevelop theii own stiategies foi solving pioblems, anu iequiiing stuuents to piove theii
iesults impiove theii acquisition anu unueistanuing of the content, theii ability to pioblem
solve, anu theii uisposition towaius pioblem solving. I wanteu to impiove how well they
weie leaining, anu I useu those thiee themes to uo this while optimizing stuuents' woiking
memoiy thioughout.
In oiuei to test my ieseaich question, I implementeu a stiategy wheie I askeu
highei oiuei questions, pioviueu oppoitunities foi stuuents to solve pioblems, anu taskeu
stuuents to piove theii woik at eveiy tuin. In oiuei to ensuie that I was not putting unuue
cognitive loau on my stuuents, I maue suie that all uiiections weie cleai anu focuseu.
To make suie that I followeu thiough with my stiategy I embeuueu at least thiee
highei-oiuei questions into eveiy lesson. I anticipateu these questions to be useu as
extension questions to help steei the stuuents towaius theii peisonal uiscoveiy. The
questions iequiieu stuuents to analyze, synthesize, anu evaluate the mathematics they
weie woiking with, anu in this way, the questions leu stuuents to think about math moie
ueeply. Examples of these types of questions aie as follows: "What uoes it mean to piove
something to someone.," "Why is it haiu to piove things.," anu "What woulu it take to
piove something to you."
To make suie that stuuents hau ample oppoitunities to engage in pioblem solving
activities, I uevoteu one uay a week to having stuuents woik in paiis solving ieal woilu
pioblems that iequiieu them to apply theii content knowleuge in a uiffeient context.
Buiing these pioblem solving tasks, I uiu not give uiiect answeis. If stuuents askeu me
questions peitaining to the pioblem they aie woiking on, I woulu not pioviue assistance
othei than asking open enueu questions meant to piovoke thought foi the stuuents. I
wanteu to make suie that they weie coming up with the answeis on theii own. The most
suppoit I pioviueu was to ask leauing questions, but the main focus was foi them to woik
with theii paitneis so that they coulu bounce iueas off of each othei. The gioups weie
chosen by the stuuents because I felt that woulu help stuuents feel moie comfoitable as
they woikeu to solve the uifficult pioblems.
To ensuie that stuuents weie taskeu with justifying theii woik with pioof, I
embeuueu justification questions in all of theii assignments. I constantly askeu them, with
an aii of skepticism, why theii answeis weie coiiect anu why theii math woikeu. I wanteu
them to unueistanu the impoitance of pioving theii woik, so I woikeu on keeping them
Problem Solving Higher Order Thinking 9

Rising Tide Volume 5 9
honest to make suie they coulu pioviue justification. That was uone to impiove theii
ability to synthesize theii knowleuge, anu it helpeu to allow them to ieflect on theii
pioblem solving piocess. The main iuea was foi them to always know why the math that
they weie peifoiming uiu what it uiu anu why it woikeu (oi uiu not woik).
In oiuei to measuie the effectiveness of my teaching stiategies, I auministeieu
pietests anu posttests to the stuuents. The tests weie taken fiom the SNCPS benchmaik
assessment anu incluueu mateiial that was coveieu ovei the couise of the unit. The pie-
test was auministeieu befoie any instiuction on the mateiial, anu the post-test was taken
aftei the implementation of the action stiategy. In this way I was able to use a t-test
analysis to confiim the effectiveness that my stiategy hau on my stuuents' peifoimance.
I also submitteu suiveys befoie anu aftei the action stiategy was implementeu. The
suivey measuieu the effect that the stiategy hau on stuuents' attituues anu uisposition
towaius mathematics anu pioblem solving thiough the use of a Likeit-type scale. In
auuition to the pietests, posttests, anu affective suiveys, I also kept iecoiu of my stuuents'
peifoimance on pioblem solving tasks that I assigneu uuiing the stiategy implementation.
This pioviueu anothei measuiement of stuuent peifoimance uuiing the piocess.
Thiough those methous of uata collection, I was able to evaluate how well my
stiategy woikeu in teims of impioving my stuuents' acquisition of anu peifoimance with
the mathematics content, as well as theii uisposition anu ability to pioblem solve anu think
Aftei analyzing the uata that was collecteu, I have founu, baseu on the thiee
elements of my ieseaich question, that; (a) the action stiategy significantly impioveu
stuuents' acquisition anu unueistanuing of the content, (b) the stiategy hau a mostly
positive impact on my stuuents' ability to pioblem solve, anu (c) the stiategy hau negative
iesults in impioving stuuents' uisposition towaius pioblem solving.
Acquisition and Understanding of the Content
In analyzing the iesults fiom the pietest anu posttest I examineu all foui of the
classes sepaiately, the two CN classes anu the two Stanuaiu classes togethei, anu all foui
classes togethei. All thiee bieakuowns showeu significant giowth in theii content
knowleuge fiom the pietest to the posttest.

Table 1
Pietest Posttest Analysis 1

Pretest Posttest Growth p-value
First Period (CM) 2.846 6.692 3.846 2.23E-05
Fourth Period (CM) 4.1 6.1 2 0.000298
Second Period 3.588 6.294 2.705 0.000104
Problem Solving Higher Order Thinking 1u

Rising Tide Volume 5 1u
Sixth Period 3.8235 6.176 2.352 0.000252

Certificate of Merit 3.606 6.333 2.72 7.92E-08
Standard 3.705 6.264 2.558 5.13E-08

All Classes 3.656 6.313 2.656 5.91E-13

Note: The tool that was useu as the pietest anu posttest in Figuie 1. The test hau ten
multiple choice items, anu 67 stuuents' scoies aie incluueu in this analysis.
See Appenuix A as it contains the fiist pie anu posttest. The test items 1, 2, S, 9, anu
1u peitain to the piopeities of exponents, items 4 anu S peitain to scientific notation, anu
items 6, 7, anu 8 peitain to using basic opeiations on polynomials. This test was
auministeieu to all classes befoie implementation of the action stiategy anu again about
thiee weeks aftei the inteivention.
All classes showeu giowth of moie than two points fiom pietest to posttest, anu
baseu on the single taileu type one t-test analysis, the giowth exhibiteu by all classes was
significant (See Table 1). The giowth that took place foi each question foi all classes was
also examineu (See Table 2).
Table 2.
Item Analysis 1
13% 20% 78% 51% 51% 23% 40% 33% 28% 48% 38%
41% 58% 91% 79% 72% 63% 49% 50% 63% 87% 65%
Growth 28% 38% 13% 28% 21% 40% 9% 17% 35% 39% 27%

!"#$. The values in this table iepiesent that peicent of stuuents who answeieu each
question coiiectly. The aveiage column iepiesents the aveiage amount of stuuents that
answeieu all items coiiectly.
Items 2, 6, 9, anu 1u exhibiteu the most giowth among items. Items S, 7, anu 8 hau
little giowth, anu items 1, 4, anu S hau giowth that was closei to the aveiage. Connecting
these finuings to the objectives foi this unit, the items coiiesponuing to the piopeities of
exponents anu scientific notation showeu highei than aveiage giowth than uiu the items
linkeu to the basic opeiations on polynomials.
Problem Solving Higher Order Thinking 11

Rising Tide Volume 5 11
Bue to the timing of the inteivention, I was able to continue implementing my action
stiategy with the two CN classes foi anothei thiee weeks. That extia time alloweu me to
auministei a seconu iounu of pietests anu posttests to those classes. Those iesults as well
as the iesults fiom the test auministeieu to both classes befoie anu aftei the seconu unit
can be founu in Table S.

Table S.
Pretest Posttest Analysis 2
Pretest Posttest Growth p-value
First Period (CM) 3.07 8.40 5.33 3.62E-08
Fourth Period (CM) 2.84 9.42 6.58 2.41E-13
Both Classes 2.94 8.97 6.03 1.59E-19

!"#$. See Appenuix B foi the test that was useu foi the seconu unit. It also containeu ten
multiple choice questions. A total of S4 stuuents' scoies aie incluueu in this analysis. These
stuuents weie also a pait of the 67 fiom the fiist pie anu posttest analysis.
Scoies in both classes incieaseu aiounu six points, anu all giowth was shown to be
significant. I again analyzeu the giowth that took place foi each item to ueteimine the
objectives with which stuuents uiu bettei (Table 4). See Appenuix B. In it, test items one
anu two peitain to the uivision of polynomials, items thiee thiough six peitain to factoiing
out the gieatest common factoi, anu items seven thiough ten peitain to factoiing the
polynomials completely.
Table 4.
Item Analysis 2
43% 25% 20% 25% 22% 42% 20% 34% 20% 25% 28%
97% 83% 94% 97% 94% 91% 89% 91% 86% 70% 89%
Growth 54% 58% 74% 72% 72% 49% 69% 57% 66% 45% 61%

!"#$% The values in this table iepiesent the peicent of stuuents who answeieu that
question coiiectly. The aveiage column iepiesents the aveiage amount of stuuents that
answeieu all items coiiectly
Problem Solving Higher Order Thinking 12

Rising Tide Volume 5 12
As seen in the table above, foi items thiee, foui, anu five the peicentage of stuuents
who got these coiiect incieaseu, theie was a lowei peicentage foi items six anu ten, anu
items one, two, seven, eight, anu nine all hau peicentages neai the aveiage. It is cleai that
stuuents uiu well with all of the topics; howevei theie weie elements of factoiing out the
gieatest common factoi anu factoiing completely that stuuents uiu not uo as well with. As a
whole, it appeais that stuuents maue significant giowth in unueistanuing the content as a
iesult of my action stiategy.
Stuuent Ability to Pioblem Solve
All foui classes completeu thiee peifoimance tasks which uealt with the piopeities
of exponents, scientific notation, anu polynomials, iespectively. }ust as the extia time
alloweu me to auministei anothei set of pie anu posttests to the two CN classes, I was also
able to auministei an auuitional task to those classes ielateu to factoiing. The iesults foi
each can be founu in tables S, 6, 7, anu 8.
Table S.
First Period Performance
First Period (CM) Exponent Properties Scientific Notation Polynomial Factoring
Average Percent 46.25 % 92.94 % 70.25 % 76.39 %
p-value 1.79929E-06 0.02 0.19

Table 6.
Fourth Period Performance
Fourth Period (CM) Exponent Properties Scientific Notation Polynomial Factoring
Average Percent 56.44 % 62.25 % 73.95 % 65.79 %
p-value 0.42 0.11 0.24

Table 7.
Second Period Performance
Second Period Exponent Properties Scientific Notation Polynomial
Average Percent 40.17 % 65.20 % 67.26 %
p-value 0.06 0.24
Table 8.
Sixth Period Performance
Sixth Period Exponent Properties Scientific Notation Polynomial
Average Percent 18.68 % 69.33 % 75.87 %
p-value 1.94729E-06 0.06
Problem Solving Higher Order Thinking 1S

Rising Tide Volume 5 1S
!"#$% Each class ieceiveu the same tasks foi each topic. Stuuents in eveiy class weie given
the option to woik in gioups of vaiying sizes, anu often stuuents who woikeu togethei
woulu ieceive similai scoies. Stuuents who weie absent when the tasks weie given weie
excuseu anu not incluueu in the class aveiages oi the t-test analysis.
Foi the most pait theie was a positive piogiession fiom one task to anothei. In all
classes scoies incieaseu fiom the fiist task to the seconu. Foi the two stanuaiu classes
scoies incieaseu continuously fiom the fiist task to the thiiu; howevei the two CN classes
hau mixeu iesults. Fiist peiiou uiu woise fiom the seconu task to the thiiu anu bettei fiom
the thiiu to the fouith task, while fouith peiiou uiu bettei fiom the seconu task to the thiiu
anu woise fiom the thiiu to the fouith. Theie may not have been uefinitive giowth
thioughout the peifoimance tasks, but in all cases theie was positive giowth fiom the fiist
task to the final task. The foui tasks can be founu in Appenuix C, B, E, anu F. I cieateu all
foui tasks with a focus on optimizing stuuents' woiking memoiy.
Stuuents Bisposition towaius Pioblem Solving
Aftei analyzing the iesults fiom the suivey that stuuents took befoie anu aftei the
implementation of my action stiategy, I founu that theie was no positive oveiall giowth on
any of the eight items between the pie-suivey anu post-suivey iesults. The suivey that was
auministeieu can be founu in Appenuix u.
The items on that suivey weie stiuctuieu in an attempt to gauge how well my action
stiategy impioveu stuuent's confiuence in theii ability to iecognize the math neeueu to
solve pioblems anu theii ability to use the math neeueu to solve pioblems, as well as the
extent to which they view math as a ielevant tool that can be useu to solve pioblems in the
ieal woilu. Because the stuuents iemaineu anonymous thioughout the suiveying piocess, I
was unable to match inuiviuual stuuents' pietest with theii posttest.

Table 9.
&'()"('#'"* ,-./$0 1*230('(

Pretest (out of 32) Posttest (out of 32) Growth p-value
First (CM)

22.38 17.06 -5.32 0.01
Fourth (CM)

23.43 24.26 0.83 0.32

21.17 18.41 -2.75 0.07

21.61 21.61 0.00 0.50
All 22.19 20.42 -1.78 0.04

Problem Solving Higher Order Thinking 14

Rising Tide Volume 5 14
!"#$% Theie weie 7S stuuents who took the pie-suivey anu 7S stuuents who took the post-
suivey. The eight items on the suivey weie scoieu on a scale fiom one to foui foi a possible
scoie of S2. Items that weie woiueu negatively (items thiee, foui, seven, anu eight), weie
ieveise scoieu to ensuie an accuiate uepiction of stuuent iesponses.
As seen in Table 9, foi fiist anu seconu peiious, anu all foui classes as a whole, theie
was a significant uecline in scoies fiom the pietest to the post test. Sixth peiiou hau no
giowth, anu fouith peiiou's giowth was not significant. This means that my stiategy uiu
not impiove stuuent uisposition, anu, in fact, my stiategy actually woiseneu stuuents'
uisposition towaius pioblem solving.
Acquisition anu 0nueistanuing of the Content
Fiom the finuings above, I am confiuent that I was able to answei the fiist pait of my
ieseaich question. Asking stuuents highei oiuei questions, having stuuents uevelop theii
own stiategies foi solving pioblems, anu iequiiing stuuents to piove theii iesults uiu
impiove theii acquisition anu unueistanuing of the content. Not only was theie significant
giowth foi both sets of pietests anu posttests, but theie was giowth in each topic that was
coveieu ovei the couise of the implementation.
Theie was veiy little uistinction between the peifoimances of CN stuuents
compaieu to Stanuaiu stuuents, as both gioups maue similai giowth with the Stanuaiu
classes out almost out peifoiming theii CN peeis. This suppoits my belief that all levels of
stuuents can benefit fiom being exposeu to challenging anu uifficult questions anu
pioblems. In challenging stuuents with mateiial that exceeus the expectations set foith by a
stanuaiuizeu assessment, I was able to ovei piepaie them foi the posttest. Compaieu to the
highei oiuei questions anu the challenging peifoimance tasks, the items on the posttest
pioveu to be less uifficult foi my stuuents.
Student Ability to Problem Solve
Asking stuuents highei oiuei questions, having stuuents uevelop theii own
stiategies foi solving pioblems, anu iequiiing stuuent to piove theii iesults uiu impiove
theii ability to pioblem solve. The iesults weie not significant, but theie was an oveiall
inciease in the stuuents' peifoimance on the tasks.
Some of that giowth coulu be attiibuteu to the stuuents' familiaiity with my
expectations with iegaius to the level of uetail in theii answeis. Stuuents hau been
assigneu similai peifoimance tasks eailiei in the school yeai, but those tasks weie only
auministeieu at the enu of eveiy quaitei. Those tasks weie also moie stiuctuieu with
moie components. In both Stanuaiu classes anu my fouith peiiou class, theie was
continuous giowth taking place fiom one peifoimance task to anothei. The uecline in
peifoimance that was exhibiteu by fiist anu fouith peiiou in the last couple of tasks coulu
peihaps be attiibuteu to a uiffeience in uifficulty between the pioblems.
The fiist task pioveu to be the most uifficult, anu it was not immeuiately cleai to
stuuents what was expecteu oi how what they leaineu connecteu to this pioblem. The
Problem Solving Higher Order Thinking 1S

Rising Tide Volume 5 1S
seconu pioblem iequiieu the same basic opeiations as the fiist, but the pioblem was moie
similai to othei pioblems that they hau been faceu with, especially those iegaiuing iates
with money ovei a peiiou of time. I woulu evaluate the thiiu anu fouith tasks to be the
most effective in connecting the mateiial to moie authentic pioblems. As the
implementation piogiesseu, I uiu become bettei at ciafting the pioblems (as seen in the
uiffeience in uiiections fiom the fiist task to the iest of the tasks).
I think that the use of gioups influenceu the stuuents' peifoimance on the pioblems.
In giving stuuents a choice in theii gioups, I openeu the possibility that ineffective gioups
coulu exist. Bespite my constant attempts to keep gioups on task, theie weie multiple
occasions wheie gioup membeis weie not being as piouuctive as they coulu have been. It
is my belief that stuuents uiu not take the piocess seiiously anu woulu wait in hopes that I
woulu walk them thiough the piocess. Since owneiship of the pioblem was theiis alone,
they uiu not ieceive the help that they hau come to expect, anu theii scoies ieflecteu the
lack initiative (iesulting in zeios on a few occasions).
That lack of initiative stiuck me as an alaiming pioblem. As numeious stuuents tolu
me, "You'ie a bau teachei, you'ie not helping us." This ieaction occuiieu when stuuents
became fiustiateu with the pioblem. It seems that they vieweu teacheis as the sole
suppliei of infoimation anu answeis in the classioom. In not pioviuing them with the
uiiest assistance they sought, I tiansfeiieu moie of the onus to the stuuents. I think that
anothei pait of the initiative pioblem stemmeu fiom an ineffectiveness to establish that
these pioblems weie woith solving. No uoubt all of the pioblems maue the stuuents think
about math in a uiffeient way, but some of the pioblems may not have been as meaningful
to them as they shoulu have been.
Students Disposition towards Problem Solving
Regaiuing the thiiu pait of my ieseaich question, asking stuuents highei oiuei
questions, iequiiing stuuents to uevelop theii own stiategies foi solving pioblems, anu
iequiiing stuuents to piove theii iesults uiu not impiove theii uisposition towaius
pioblem solving. In fact, my stiategy pioveu to significantly woisen the uisposition of my
Those iesults ieflect finuings fiom Leauei anu Niuuleton (2uu4) who uiscusseu
how iesponses in the biain can foim stuuents' attituues iegaiuing pioblem solving tasks.
The stuuents became fiustiateu eaily on in the piocess, anu I believe that was tiiggeieu to
pievious expeiiences with uifficult anu seemingly insuimountable pioblems they faceu in
math. A significant poition of my stuuents hau faileu the Algebia BSA, anu being placeu in
Inteimeuiate Algebia suggests that the stuuent was not successful enough in Algebia to
move onto ueometiy oi Algebia II. Nany stuuents have not hau the most positive
expeiiences with mathematics. Foi that ieason, it makes sense that they woulu have a
negative ieaction to challenging anu uifficult questions anu pioblems, anu as a iesult a
uecieaseu uisposition towaius pioblem solving.
This uoes not suggest that stuuents shoulu not be taskeu to answei oi solve those
uifficult questions anu pioblems, howevei. The implementation those questions anu
pioblems shoulu be conuucive to fosteiing a safe anu positive enviionment foi the
Problem Solving Higher Order Thinking 16

Rising Tide Volume 5 16
stuuents. The absolute way that stuuents will have a positive uisposition towaius pioblem
solving is foi them to have positive expeiiences with solving meaningful pioblems.
Buiing the beginning of my inteinship, I noticeu that my stuuents founu it uifficult
to ciitically think oi pioblem solve effectively. By asking highei oiuei questions, iequiiing
stuuents to uevelop theii own methou foi solving pioblems, anu iequiiing them to piove
theii iesults, I sought to impiove my stuuents' ability to ciitically think anu pioblem solve
within the content they weie leaining. Ny stiategy pioveu to be successful in impioving
stuuents unueistanuing of the content anu ability to pioblem solve.
This stuuy hau a few limitations, in that I was not the full time teachei, anu I was
only able to implement my stiategy foi a shoit peiiou of time. I also founu that I was
limiteu in my ability to effectively ciaft meaningful pioblems anu to establish ielevance foi
my stuuents. Bespite these limitations, I am still pleaseu with how this stuuy enueu, anu
have founu that the emphasis on ciitical thinking, pioblem solving, anu asking highei oiuei
questions will iemain as a staple in my futuie teaching.
The finuings fiom this stuuy suggest that stuuents at all levels aie capable of success
in an enviionment that is iich with highei oiuei questions anu engaging pioblem solving
oppoitunities. It is impoitant that those oppoitunities pioviue stuuents with positive
pioblem solving expeiiences, so that stuuents can see that pioblem solving is meaningful.
Eveiy stuuent shoulu be pusheu to think about uifficult anu impoitant questions anu
pioblems eveiy uay, because eveiy stuuent will have impoitant anu uifficult pioblems to
solve when they leave school.

Problem Solving Higher Order Thinking 17

Rising Tide Volume 5 17
Afamasaga-Fuata'i, K. (2uu8). Stuuents' Conceptual 0nueistanuing anu Ciitical Thinking: A
Case foi Concept Naps anu vee-Biagiams in Nathematics Pioblem Solving.
1-(#.23'2* 42#5$62#'7( 8$275$.9 :;(2), 8-17.
Chang, N. -L. (2uu9). The Zeio-at-the-Enu Pioblem. 1-(#.23'2* ,$*'". 42#5$62#'7( <"-.*239
=>(2), 1S-17.
Chinnappan, N., & Chanulei, P. (2u1u). Nanaging Cognitive Loau in the Nathematics
Classioom. 1-(#.23'2* 42#5$62#'7( 8$275$.9 ::(1), S-11.
ue Lima, R. N., & Tall, B. (2uu8). Pioceuuial Embouiment anu Nagic in Lineai Equations.
?@-72#'"*23 ,#-@'$( '* 42#5$62#'7(9 :A(1), S-18.
uaifielu, }., & Ben-Zvi, B. (2uu9). Belping Stuuents Bevelop Statistical Reasoning:
Implementing a Statistical Reasoning Leaining Enviionment. 8$275'*B ,#2#'(#'7(C 1*
D*#$.*2#'"*23 <"-.*23 E". 8$275$.(9 >F(S), 72-77.
uough, }. (2u1u). Is Pioof Beau in the Computei-Age School Cuiiiculum. 1-(#.23'2* ,$*'".
42#5$62#'7( <"-.*239 =;(2), 4S-S4.
Bill, C. (2u1u). When Tiauitional Won't Bo: Expeiiences fiom a "Lowei-Level" Nathematics
Classioom. G3$2.'*B H"-($C 1 <"-.*23 "E ?@-72#'"*23 ,#.2#$B'$(9 D((-$( 2*@ D@$2(9
I>(6), 2S9-24S.
Leauei, L. F., & Niuuleton, }. A. (2uu4). Piomoting Ciitical-Thinking Bispositions by 0sing
Pioblem Solving in Niuule School Nathematics. J4K? L*3'*$C J$($2.75 '* 4'@@3$
K$/$3 ?@-72#'"*9 =I(1), 1-1S.
Little, N. E. (2uu9). Teaching Nathematics: Issues anu Solutions. 8?1GHD!M ?N7$)#'"*23
G5'3@.$* O3-(9 :(1).
NcKnight, A., & Nulligan, }. (2u1u). Teaching Eaily Nathematics "Smaitei Not Baiuei":
0sing 0pen-Enueu Tasks to Builu Nouels anu Constiuct Patteins. 1-(#.23'2*
O.'62.0 42#5$62#'7( G32((.""69 FP(S), 4-9.
Sezei, R. (2u1u). Pulling out All the Stops. ?@-72#'"*9 F>Q(S), 416-42S.
Stack, S., Watson, }., Binuley, S., Samson, P., & Bevlin, R. (2u1u). What's Aveiage. 1-(#.23'2*
42#5$62#'7( 8$275$.9 ::(S), 7-1S.
Way, }. (2uu8). 0sing Questioning to Stimulate Nathematical Thinking. 1-(#.23'2* O.'62.0
42#5$62#'7( G32((.""69 F>(S), 22-27.
Yoon, C., Bieyfus, T., & Thomas, N. 0. }. (2u1u). Bow Bigh Is the Tiamping Tiack.
Nathematising anu Applying in a Calculus Nouel-Eliciting Activity. 42#5$62#'7(
?@-72#'"* J$($2.75 <"-.*239 ==(2), 141-1S7.
Problem Solving Higher Order Thinking 18

Rising Tide Volume 5 18
"//,.012 "

Problem Solving Higher Order Thinking 19

Rising Tide Volume 5 19
"//,.012 3

Problem Solving Higher Order Thinking 2u

Rising Tide Volume 5 2u
"//,.012 4
Properties of Exponents Performance Task
Task: With your group members solve the problem below. Discuss with
each other what needs to be solved, how to solve it, and what your
solution means. These three elements must be present in your
answer in order to receive full credit.
Grading: This will be graded as a product grade. Do your best, and
work with your group members to solve the problem.

The Problem: The radius of the Sun is about 109 times greater than
the Earths. How much greater is the Suns volume compared to the
Hint: Volume of a Sphere = ! !

Appendix D
Scientific Notation Performance Task
The Task: With your group members solve the problem below. You will
need to figure out what the problem is (2), what needs to be done
to solve it (8), whether the math you use is correct (8), and what
your answer means in the context of the problem (2).
Grading: This will be a product grade. The bolded tasks above are each
worth five points. They all need to be clearly addressed in order to
receive full credit.
The Problem: The United States currently has over $15, 353, 220,
000, 000 in debt. The country has a population of over 313, 000, 000
people. If every person paid 20 dollars every month to pay off the
debt, how many years would it take for the debt to be paid off
Problem Solving Higher Order Thinking 21

Rising Tide Volume 5 21
(assuming no new debt is acquired)? Write your answer using scientific
Appendix E
Polynomial Performance Task
Task: With your group, you will solve the problem below. You will need
to clearly address; the information that the problem is giving you
(5pts), how you are going to use that information (5pts.), why your
math is correct (5pts), and what your solution means (5pts).
Grading: This will be graded as a product grade worth 20 points.
The four categories above must be clearly addressed in order to
receive full credit.

The Problem: You are designing a new can for your favorite soda
company. The only specifications that the company has given you, is
that the can's height must be four times its diameter, and the volume
of the can must be 25 in
. What polynomial will represent the volume of
the can that you design? Bonus (5pts): How would you find the height
of the can that you design?
Hint: Diameter = 2r
Volume of a Cylinder = !!
Appendix F
Factoring Performance Task
Task: With your group members you will work on solving the problem
below. In order to receive full credit, you will need to; identify the
important information that you will need to solve the problem
(5pts.), explain how you will use that information to solve the
problem (5pts.), explain why your method for solving the problem is
correct (5pts.), and explain what your solution means (5pts.).
Problem Solving Higher Order Thinking 22

Rising Tide Volume 5 22
Grading: This will be graded as a product grade, and all points above
need to be clearly addressed in order to receive all 20 points.
The Problem: You are the manager of a restaurant that has a buffet
line that has entres and dessert items. You need to make sure that
bacteria will not grow on the food in your buffet, so that your
customers do not get food poisoning. Food poisoning is bad for
The health inspector tells you that the quadratic,
B = T
+ 150(T) 1600, represents the number of bacteria cells, B,
based on the temperature of the food, T. How hot or cold do you need
to keep your food, so that your buffet does not give someone food
poisoning? Hint: To prevent food poisoning, the number of bacteria
cells should be zero.
Appendix G
For each statement below circle the option that represents how strongly you agree or
1) I feel confident in my ability to recognize the math needed to solve a real world problem.
Strongly Disagree Disagree No Opinion Agree Strongly Agree

2) I feel confident in my ability to use math to solve real world problems.
Strongly Disagree Disagree No Opinion Agree Strongly Agree

3) I do not feel confident in my ability to recognize the math needed to solve real world
Strongly Disagree Disagree No Opinion Agree Strongly Agree

4) I do not feel confident in my ability to use math to solve real world problems.
Strongly Disagree Disagree No Opinion Agree Strongly Agree

Problem Solving Higher Order Thinking 2S

Rising Tide Volume 5 2S
5) I can use math to solve problems in my life.
Strongly Disagree Disagree No Opinion Agree Strongly Agree

6) Math is used in the real world to solve problems.
Strongly Disagree Disagree No Opinion Agree Strongly Agree

7) I cannot use math to solve problems in my life.
Strongly Disagree Disagree No Opinion Agree Strongly Agree

8) Math is not used in the real world to solve problems.
Strongly Disagree Disagree No Opinion Agree Strongly Agree