Whole-Group Instruction

Mystery Problem

This strategy is a biweekly problem solving investigation on recently learned content. Typically students will be given sample scanned answers that I have hand selected. These problems have been previously solved. Students meet on the carpet for the mystery problem reveal. We also cover what the goal of our session will be using a checklist/success rubric. They are then dismissed to investigate in teams. The students select manipulatives to discuss, develop an agreed upon idea, and critique which student(s) response they agree with/why. If a team finishes early they can work on they "Step ahead" which is harder differentiated task. Finally they use the checklist to self reflect if they were successful during the mystery problem session.

Strategy Resources (3)
Students In Action
 
 
Lesson Plan
 
 
The Checklist/Rubric is an assessment tool students use to convey where they are with their task for the lesson or team task. The checklist has indicators students select from: starting to [understand], not yet, and Yes! The rubric is checked off as the team progresses through the lesson and at the conclusion they evaluate how they did. Using this rubric with student friendly language allows students to determine what there next steps may be during a lesson, provide constructive feedback to one another, or consider what they need work on to be ready for the next lesson.
Student Work Sample
 
 
The sample slides show the progression of the mystery problem. We start by revealing and reviewing the self-assessment checklist, consider what we know about the topic and move on to the mystery. Within the mystery problem slide, students determine which student written solution from their math journals is correct by solving the problem in their teams. Students are free to select any manipulatives we have available during the mystery problem team time.
Students In Action
 
 
Lesson Plan
 
 
The Checklist/Rubric is an assessment tool students use to convey where they are with their task for the lesson or team task. The checklist has indicators students select from: starting to [understand], not yet, and Yes! The rubric is checked off as the team progresses through the lesson and at the conclusion they evaluate how they did. Using this rubric with student friendly language allows students to determine what there next steps may be during a lesson, provide constructive feedback to one another, or consider what they need work on to be ready for the next lesson.
Student Work Sample
 
 
The sample slides show the progression of the mystery problem. We start by revealing and reviewing the self-assessment checklist, consider what we know about the topic and move on to the mystery. Within the mystery problem slide, students determine which student written solution from their math journals is correct by solving the problem in their teams. Students are free to select any manipulatives we have available during the mystery problem team time.
Freddy Esparza
Aspire Titan Academy
Los Angeles, CA


 

About this strategy

Prep Time:
Moderate
Subject:
Math
Grade:
Third grade
Similar Strategies
Collaborative Student Groups
Buddy Reading

Buddy Reading is a research-based fluency strategy I use with readers who lack fluency. In this strategy, my students read aloud to each other. More fluent readers can be paired with less fluent readers, or students who read at the same level can be paired to together. Buddy Reading can be used with any book since students can take turns reading by sentence, paragraph, page, or chapter.

 
Feedback Systems
Teamwork Self-Assessment Rubric

At the conclusion of our team sessions my students self-assess, give feedback/compliments to one another, and agree or share out their disagreements with one another. Our two areas of focus right now are collaboration and accountability. My students score themselves on a scale from 1-4 on these habits and then track their progress daily/weekly in order to consider their next steps or provide feedback to one another. Perhaps most importantly, the sentence stems within the rubric help my students develop a repertoire of conversational skills they will need in the 21st century and beyond.  

 
Routines and Procedures
Station Transition

Station transitions occur multiple times in a blended classroom. During station transitions, the team or group that’s coming out of the computers lines up and collects the materials ready to go into the whole group lesson on the rug. At the same time, the group that was just on the rug is now going to the computers and collecting their materials for the computers. We give each students 30 seconds to transition, after which we positively praise 3-4 students for making good transitions.

 
 
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