The goal of the "Problem Solvers" department is to foster improved communication among teachers by posing one problem each month for K-6 teachers to try with their students. Every teacher can become an author: pose the problem, reflect on your students' work, analyze the classroom dialogue, and submit the resulting insights to this department. Remember that even student misconceptions are interesting.
Please spend some time discussing this problem with your students. Although the students may need help understanding the problem and the constraints under which they are to work, please avoid giving too much guidance. Encourage your students to write about what factors helped them solve the problem. Collect actual students' work, and jot down notes about discussions that occurred and the variety of students' solution processes. View this task as more than an exercise for which students are seeking a correct answer.
As you reflect on your experience with the problem, keep in mind these questions:
* What strategies did the students use in determining which graph fit which situation?
* Did misconceptions surface, or did other ideas occur that hindered students' thinking?
* How well did students explain and support their choices?
* What surprised you?
* How could you assess students' work on such an exploration?
Please send us your thoughts and reflections. Include how you posed the problem and samples of students' work. Please send your results with your name, grade level, and school by 20 May 2000 to Lynae Sakshaug, Department of Education and Human Development, SUNY Brockport, Brockport, NY 14420.