TES Maths ROTW: Multistage problem solving

Craig Barton
31st October 2016

TES Maths Resource of the Week

Resource title: Multistage problem solving

Resource author: cchristian

What is it?

I always get anxious when marking the multistage problems in mock GCSE papers, because I know that's where the majority of lost marks will come from. This is frustrating for both me as their teacher and the students themselves, particularly as the questions are usually more straightforward than they first appear. How do we get round this? Practice, of course.

Although this comprehensive resource was designed for the legacy GCSE specification, it is actually more relevant for the new one. There are a host of multi-mark questions on a variety of topics, including angles, currency conversions and even one about paving over an awkward-shaped garden.

How can it be used?

The author suggests using each problem as a 10-minute starter activity. In the first five minutes, allow students to work on their own, offering prompts if required. Use the remaining five minutes to discuss solutions while modelling strategies to obtain the correct answer.

I suggest that this becomes a regular part of your pupils’ mathematical diets as soon as possible. Be careful not to simply cram them in a few weeks before the exam. Aim for one or two of these a week from now until June and your students will be flying!

 

Craig Barton

Craig is a secondary maths teacher in the North of England.


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