Michele Beaulieu Hay Lakes School Michele Beaulieu’s Professional Study Proposal I.

Statement of the selected focus of the PD project: For my PD project I have decided to focus on helping my students develop problem-solving skills to assist them in preparation for the Provincial Achievement Test (PAT) at the end of the year. I have looked at old exam bank questions from the grade 6 Math PAT and even though the questions are testing the students knowledge of material they have learned throughout the year, most of the exam questions involve higher level thinking through problem solving. I believe teaching different problem solving techniques is fundamental to improving students’ performance on the exams, which will help develop student learning. I will teach a new problem solving strategy each week and we will do practice examples as a class. Near the end of my practicum I will give students an exam to test which strategies were most effective. I will also create a teaching booklet that incorporates lessons for problem solving strategy with assignments and an exam. My focus will be Math questions but helping my students develop problem-solving skills will also assist them in other subjects like Science, Social Studies and Language Arts. II. Description of the activities/process involved in the PD project: I have spoken with my teacher mentor and decided that it is important students in the class learn vital problem solving skills. I will be creating a booklet that includes my lesson plans, a description of each problem solving strategy, lesson plan activities, an exam, a blueprint to the exam, and my final report of which problem solving strategies were most effective. This activity booklet will be left with my teacher mentor so she can use it in future if she would like. III. Timeline of Events: * Every Friday during our Math class we will have a problem solving strategy lesson and activity. I will teach a new lesson, we will do the activity and then the students will practice in a variety of assignments. This will occur once a week in January, February, and halfway through the month of March. If there is a short week at school we will either skip problem solving that week of move it to another day. January: Strategies: Act out the problem, draw a picture. February: Strategies: Find a Pattern, Make a Table, Use a Letter Variable March: Strategies: Make an Organized List, Work Backwards, Review. At the end of the month: Problem solving exam and exam blueprint. April: Create a final report based on the exam and blue print. Organize my binder with all materials, lessons, activities, exams, blueprint and results. IV. Description of end product(s): By the end of my practicum I will have a binder with all lesson plans, activities, exams, and blueprints with improvements that I have made, to be left with my mentor to use in the future. Lesson Plan One – Act Out The Problem The purpose of this problem solving strategy is to have students stand up and act out the problems or use a manipulative to help show what the problem is asking them. Some

Michele Beaulieu Hay Lakes School students find it helpful to act out events of the problem, make a model using manipulatives, or move objects around. This helps them form a mental picture of the problem and allows them to easily manipulate the problem. First, use the website Spy Guys: Problem Solving Strategies Link.
http://www.learnalberta.ca/content/mesg/html/math6web/index.html?page=strategies

Use the above link to complete the following two questions. The question will appear on the board and a solution is provided. Problem 2: Canoe - Have 3 students come up to the front of the room to act out the problem. - Students that are sitting can give suggestions as to how they should solve the problem. - Once students think they have solved the problem, click on the Smart Board for the solution. - The students at the front must act out the problem. Problem 3: Toothpicks - Split students into groups of 5. - Give each group 22 toothpicks. - Read the question at the front of the class. - Students will then need to solve the problem using manipulatives. - When everyone is finished click to see the solution on the Smart Board. Group Activity: - Students will be split into 4 groups. - Each group will be given a problem. - Students will need to figure out how to solve the problem by acting it out or using a manipulative. - Students will have 15 minutes to solve the problem using this strategy. - They will then check their answers with the teacher before they can act. - Students will read the problem, and then act it out for the class. Example Questions are on the following page. Key: Problem 1 – 4 days Problem 2 – 8 combinations Problem 3 – 10 matches Problem 4 – Willy: blueberry, Milly: Spice, Billy: Apple, Lily: Chocolate Chip Act It Out Problem 1: Barb Wire adds 1 link to her paper chain every day. Chuck Stake adds 3 links to his chain every day. Barbs chain has 9 links right now and Chuck’s chain has 3 links right now. If they keep adding links at the same rate, how many days before Chuck’s chain has more links than Barb’s chain?

Michele Beaulieu Hay Lakes School

Problem 2: Katy Did has six pets of three different varieties – two dogs, two cats, and two lizards. Every time she goes out she takes three animals, one of each variety. She can take: Polly or Petula Poodle, Tom or Aly Cat, and Lizzie or Lily Lizard. How many combinations of animals are possible?

Problem 3: In the Chinese Checker tournament, Mark Able, Anita Break, Jack Jumper, Ping Pong, and Chubby Checker all still need to play each other before the champion is announced. If each player plays all other remaining contestants, how many matches will be played altogether?

Problem 4: Willy, Milly, Billy, and Lily (all members of the Silly family) each decided to order a different kind of pancake at the restaurant. The four choices were apple, chocolate chip, blueberry, and spice. Using the following clues, who ordered which pancakes?

Lesson Two: Draw a Picture Students will draw a simple sketch or diagram to help them visualize the problem. Materials: Whiteboards, Markers, and Practice Questions. First, use the website Spy Guys: Problem Solving Strategies Link, Draw a Diagram:

Michele Beaulieu Hay Lakes School http://www.learnalberta.ca/content/mesg/html/math6web/index.html?page=strategi es Hand out individual whiteboards, and markers (if you do not have them you can use their scribblers). Complete problems 1 and 2 as a class, students will complete the question by drawing a picture, then go over the answers on the Smart Board. Problem 1: Garden Plot - Students will complete the problem on their whiteboard then check as a class. - Click the solution button to see how they draw a picture of diagram. - Ask students to come up and show their work on the board. - Did they do it similarly or different? Problem 2: Spiders Movement - Students will complete the problem on their whiteboard then check as a class. - Click the solution button to see how they draw a picture of diagram. - Ask students to come up and show their work on the board. - Did they do it similarly or different? Students will then complete practice questions on their own. The worksheet and answer key is attached to the next page. Have students complete one question then come and get it marked. You can then see if students have an understanding or if you need to reteach any materials.

Practice Page: Pg. 42 - 46

Lesson Plan Three: Look For A Pattern Students will look for a pattern in the information they are given. They will continue the pattern to solve the problem. Materials: Whiteboards, Markers, and Practice Questions. First, use the website Spy Guys: Problem Solving Strategies Link, Look for a Pattern: http://www.learnalberta.ca/content/mesg/html/math6web/index.html?page=strategi es

Michele Beaulieu Hay Lakes School Hand out individual whiteboards, and markers (if you do not have them you can use their scribblers). Complete each practice question using whiteboards. Review answers using the Smart Board after each question. Problem 1: Toothpicks How many squares can you make with 22 toothpicks? First students need to figure out how many are needed for one toothpick. They can then add three more toothpicks to add another square. They will see that the pattern is every new square you need to add three toothpicks. Use the pattern to solve for how many squares you can make. Problem 2: Stairs How many blocks are needed to make 7 stairs? Look at the diagram and notice that you need one block for one stair, and 3 blocks for 2 stairs. Use the pattern to solve the question. Problem 3: Recess You get 1 minute of recess on the first day of school, 2 minutes on the second day, and 4 minutes on the third day. How many minutes of recess would you get on day 5 and on day 10? Use the pattern to solve the question. Have students complete one question then come and get it marked. You can then see if students have an understanding or if you need to reteach any materials.

Practice Questions: Pg. 22 – 26 Answer key and practice questions are attached on next page.

Lesson Plan Four: Make a Table Using a table helps to organize and record known information so a pattern is easy to find. Materials: Whiteboards, Markers, and Practice Questions. First, use the website Spy Guys: Problem Solving Strategies Link, Use a Table: http://www.learnalberta.ca/content/mesg/html/math6web/index.html?page=strategi es Hand out individual whiteboards, and markers (if you do not have them you can use their scribblers). Complete each practice question using whiteboards. Review answers using the Smart Board after each question.

Michele Beaulieu Hay Lakes School Problem 1: Coins You have 28 cents in your pocket. How many different combinations of coins could you have? - Students will make a table with 4 columns, one for each coin: quarter, dime, nickel, and penny. - They will then show the different combinations they can have using a table. - Using a table for this question helps them visualize the different combinations, and prevents them from making repeats. Problem 2: Pizza Bill, Anna, and Habib all went out for pizza at lunch. Each person had his or her favorite kind of pizza. One had a plain cheese, one had a pepperoni and mushroom, and one had ham and pineapple. Bill does not eat meat. Habib does not like fruit on his pizza. Anna does not like mushrooms. What kind of pizza did each person eat for lunch? - Use a table to organize information. - Use Smart Board to review answers. Problem 3: Fishing Ethan and Debbie are fishing at Wandering River. Two turns of their reel lowers their bait 3 m. A big juicy fish is swimming 18 m below the surface of the water. How many times must their turn their reel to reach the fish? - Use a table to organize information and find the pattern. - Use Smart Board to review answers. Practice Questions: Pg. 12 - 16 Answer key and practice questions are attached on next page. Lesson Plan Five: Use a Letter Variable This is a strategy that the students learned during their Patterns and Equations unit in Math. It is important that students can create a table of information, find the pattern in the table, and then create a formula to represent the pattern. It is important that students are capable to do this because when problems become more complex it is easier to use a formula to solve, rather than trying to extend the table or continue the pattern. I created a Smart Board file with questions on it to introduce single and multiple step formulas. On the following pages, there are printed copies of the Smart Board files. Digital files are saved in the school folders. Materials: Whiteboards, markers, Smart Board file: Using a Variable, and Textbook for practice questions. As a class you will complete the lesson, introduce one set formulas and then two step formulas. Practice Questions Pg. 23 # 1, 2, and 3

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Lesson Plan Six: Make an Organized List When students are given a problem with multiple combinations, it is sometimes easiest for them to make an organized list. By making an organized list they can see all combinations, ensure they are not repeating themselves, and have a better visual of what the problem is asking them. I created a Smart Board question set to complete practice questions with my class. First students were given whiteboards and markers, and then I read them out the question. They needed to solve their answer using an organized list. I would circulate the room to check for understanding and then we would review the question at the front of the room when they were done. Students then completed practice questions from their problem-solving book. Practice Questions: Pg. 17 - 21 Smart Board slides are attached to the following pages. A digital copy is in my school folder.

Michele Beaulieu Hay Lakes School

Lesson Plan Seven: Work Backwards When students are given a problem that contains multiple steps it is sometimes difficult for them to grasp. Working backwards is a helpful strategy because the students need to ask themselves: what do I know? What I don’t know? What are the missing pieces? Students need to first locate what they know and then make a list. They will then start solving the problem with the end in mind. By eliminating unknowns they will solve the problem. I created a Smart Board file and students completed practice questions using whiteboards and markers. Each question they solved on their own and then we would review the questions as a class. Smart board printed copies are attached to the following pages. A digital copy is uploaded to my school folder. Students then completed practice questions. The practice questions are attached. Pg. 37 - 41

Michele Beaulieu Hay Lakes School

End Product: Quiz and Data Analysis Students were taught seven problem solving strategies over a 3-month time span. I created a quiz and students needed to solve the problems using one of the strategies they learned over the past 3 months. Students would then identify which strategy they used. Once quizzes are marked, I will complete a data analysis based on which strategies were used for each question. Students then are asked which problem solving strategy was most effective and helpful for them out of the ones they were taught. I did this inquiry project to help see which problem solving strategies were most effective with my grade 6 class. I hope that they will use these strategies in the future, and it will help them be more successful when writing their Provincial Achievement Test’s. Problem Solving Quiz, Results, and Analysis are attached.

Michele Beaulieu Hay Lakes School

Problem Solving Quiz Over the past three months, we have been learning problem solving strategies. I would like to know which problem solving strategy you think is most helpful to you when you solve problems. I am trying to see which strategy the majority of the class will use, and which strategy you think is most effective. You must choose one strategy that you have learned the past few weeks to solve each question. You then must identify the type of strategy you used on this sheet for each question. You must show your work! The strategies you learned are:  Act It Out  Draw A Picture  Find A Pattern  Make A Table  Work Backwards  Make An Organized List  Use a Letter Variable Question Number 1 2 3 Strategy Used (One Per Question)

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4 Which strategy do you think was most helpful, to help you solve word problems?

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1. Barb R. Pole has a collection of hair decorations. She sorts her barrettes and ribbons and has a total of 65 items. She has 17 more barrettes than ribbons. How many of each does she have?

2. Al. E Bye and Paul Tree decided to have a contest to see which one of them could earn and save $100.00 first. They mowed lawns and did chores, and at the end of the first day, Al had $3.00 and Paul had $9.00. At the end of the second day, Al had $6.00 and Paul had $18.00. At the end of the third day, Al had $12.00 and Paul had $27.00. At the close of the fourth day, Al had $24.00 and Paul had $36.00. At this rate, who will win the contest and how many days will it take?

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3. Sue. S Canal docks her motorboat at pier one. Six boats use the pier, three tied to each side. Each boat on the pier is a different color. She’s boat is white and is directly across the pier from the green boat. The green boat is between the silver boat and the blue boat. The yellow boat is west of hers, and the silver boat is exactly north of the red boat. Where is each tied up?

4. Sue Premacy was running for president of the student council. She worked all evening with her best friend, Jean Jacket, making posters to distribute. Sue gave one-half of the posters to Jean to distribute. She took two-thirds of what was left and left the other 7 for the campaign rally. How many posters did the girls make all together?

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Final Report Mathematics is more than numbers, more than operations, and more than conceptual knowledge. Mathematics is a way of thinking and a way of reasoning. Having the tools and strategies to break down questions and see exactly what is being asked is a hard concept to understand and learn. Problem solving is helpful not only in Mathematics but it is used every subject taught in school. Over the past three months, I have been teaching different problem solving strategies. Students would learn a new strategy and then complete practice questions using that strategy. At the end of the semester students completed a problem-solving quiz. I completed a data analysis of the problem strategies most frequently used and then students answered which problem solving strategy they thought was most helpful to them. After reviewing both the data analysis and the students opinions, I believe drawing a picture, using a table, and finding a pattern were the most useful strategies. Even though the use of strategies differs from question to question, I hope I have taught my students the basics that will help them be more successful in problem solving and understanding what a question is asking them. I have included some quotes from my students work that help explain why they think certain problem solving strategies are more helpful. “I think the most helpful strategy is to work backwards.” “ I think making a table to solve the problem helps me the best.” “ I think patterns and pictures are helpful because that’s what I’m good at and I can get ideas from it.” “Organized list because it was the easiest to keep track of work.” “Drawing a picture because it makes more sense in my head. An organized list would come second, math helps a lot too.” “ The table helped me see patterns and catch things that I did not notice before.” “ None of them were most helpful, but for me it depends on the question.” “Drawing pictures helped me because I can break down the question and the pictures make sense in my mind.” “The picture was most helpful because I could see the problem.”

Michele Beaulieu Hay Lakes School “ Depends on the question. Different strategies work for different questions.” The following page shows the data analysis, and the most effective problem solving strategies on bar graphs.

Problem Solving Quiz – Results

Problem Solving Strategies
Number of Students 30 25 20 15 10 5 0

Problem Solving Strategy

The above table represents the types of strategies used during the problem-solving quiz. The majority of students used drawing a picture, using a table, working backwards, or their own strategy, like using addition and subtraction for solving the problems. The problem solving strategies varied from student to student but I believe the most effective or useful strategy was drawing a picture.

Most Effective Problem Solving Strategies
Number of Students 8 6 4 2 0

Problem Solving Strategy

Michele Beaulieu Hay Lakes School Students were then asked at the end of the quiz, “Which strategy do you think was most helpful, to help you solve word problems?” The above table represents the results from 20 students in my class. Again, like it appeared on the data analysis of the questions, the most helpful problem solving strategy is drawing a picture to represent the question.