Teaching Problem Solving Through Mathematical Modeling

Levels: K–12

Format: One day, usually combined with other training events or site visits

Audience: Classroom teachers, math coaches, district and school leadership, and specialists


In this one-day working session participants will learn about the various uses for problem solving and the types of modeling required in the standards. Participants will examine how problem solving is used to apply or model with mathematics and used to deepen, extend, or add to mathematical knowledge. This session focuses on strategies for teaching students to become adept at reasoning and applying critical thinking in mathematics while solving routine and nonroutine problems. The session addresses methods for processing student thinking through effective mathematical discourse and making mathematical connections explicit by the end of the lesson. The CORE facilitator will highlight expert instructional strategies designed to keep students focused on the math in order to accomplish the learning objectives. Participants will recognize the importance of using math to model real-world phenomena and identify key places in the standards for doing so. Participants will complete activities that demonstrate problems at multiple levels of rigor, using appropriate examples for their grade level/course.

Participant Outcomes

  • Recognize problem solving as both a tool for learning and a goal of learning.
  • Learn methods for making mathematical connections explicit within a problem-solving framework.
  • Learn how to provide facilitated and focused problem-solving activities ranging from quick problems to extended problems.
  • Understand how problem solving relates to applying mathematics to the real world