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Have Students Explain Solved (Worked) Problems


Mathematics ^21st Century Skills All Ages Strategy


Flexible Thinking Expressive Language Verbal Reasoning Abstract Reasoning Spatial Perception

Have Students Explain Solved (Worked) Problems

If your student needs to strengthen conceptual understanding of a math or science topic

Teach It!

  1. Objective: Students will explain "worked" or already-solved math problems so they can first focus on understanding the concept, rather than getting to the correct answer.
  2. Teacher Takeaways: a) Many students might be reluctant to explain their own answer if they are concerned that it might be incorrect. b) Provide students the opportunity to explain a worked example, with an answer they know is correct. This reduces anxiety about their own answer and enables them to focus on explaining what they know. c) When students have difficulty explaining a worked example, it helps the student and the teacher become aware of where more instruction is needed and eliminates the emphasis on correct or incorrect calculations. d) You can even mix it up and have students explain an incorrect problem. (Might be better for your more confident students.)

Why It Works (the Science Of Learning)!

As students are learning a new topic, they might be reluctant to explain their problem solving. However, the more a student can explain the more you can be certain of their understanding. Allowing students to explain an example they know is correct can enable them to focus on the understanding and not on their own right or wrong answer.

Best-suited for students with weaker: Attention, Inhibition, Long-term Memory, Metacognition, Short-Term Memory, Working Memory, Processing Speed (Source: Digital Promise Learner Variability Project)