When you were listing the various reasons why teachers shy away from incorporating problem solving questions in the classroom, I was also thinking about the fact that many problem solving questions have "open middles" - that is, even if there is one fixed answer, there are many different ways to get to that answer and some of those ways may not be what you were "planning" to teach. Some teachers shut down students who solve problems in creative ways because the student didn't use the "correct" formula or the "correct" method, when actually, the student's alternate way might have been just as valid. On the other hand, sometimes students go down alternate routes that "seem" valid... but are actually completely wrong. I think this complexity makes these kinds of problems fun for the class, but I have had situations where it just ended in more confusion!

I think your suggestion of incorporating ONE problem solving question per lesson is definitely a nice way to ease into this practice. BTW, how long are the class periods for the schools you are coaching?

What a fantastic post!

When you were listing the various reasons why teachers shy away from incorporating problem solving questions in the classroom, I was also thinking about the fact that many problem solving questions have "open middles" - that is, even if there is one fixed answer, there are many different ways to get to that answer and some of those ways may not be what you were "planning" to teach. Some teachers shut down students who solve problems in creative ways because the student didn't use the "correct" formula or the "correct" method, when actually, the student's alternate way might have been just as valid. On the other hand, sometimes students go down alternate routes that "seem" valid... but are actually completely wrong. I think this complexity makes these kinds of problems fun for the class, but I have had situations where it just ended in more confusion!

I think your suggestion of incorporating ONE problem solving question per lesson is definitely a nice way to ease into this practice. BTW, how long are the class periods for the schools you are coaching?