Problem Solving Assessment

Print Lesson


SWBAT showcase their growth in setting up and solving a complex problem!

Big Idea


Problem Solving Activity

25 minutes


I circulate this short, 20-30 minutes*, Problem Solving Assessment for the students to complete in class. There is no warm up prior to the assessment. I have also included a  modified version that includes the final graph needed (MP1, MP5). I use this version only when students do not have access to a graphing utility or equivalent technology and I do not want to make graphing by hand a requirement.


*This version does not have a final graph.  Students will either use technology to graph the constraints OR have them do it by hand on graph paper.  If you choose to have them graph by hand (MP1), expect the completion time to increase by 10-15 minutes


Makin' the Rounds

10 minutes

As the students begin to finish up the exam, I take time to personally collect it as they finish.  As I do, I quietly whisper to the students to tell me how they have bettered their problem solving skills over the last two weeks.  As the students share their thoughts with me, I make note of them on a piece of paper.  I will use this data with the class in the closing discussion.

Problem Solving Debrief - Journal

10 minutes

To conclude the final few minutes of class, I ask the students to elaborate on what we talked about when they turned in the test.  My students are know at the start of class to check their online agenda for the day, but I also put a friendly reminder of this on the board.  In my agenda is a link to a journal that I would like for them to respond to.  The journal asks the following:

In a well written paragraph, please explain how your problem solving tactics and strategies have evolved over the last two weeks.  What small new tools, tricks, and strategies work for you when solving a non-routine problem?  You might also choose to elaborate on the importance of collaboration, and how constructing arguments and critiquing the reasoning of others has helped you to become a better problem solver.  

 I collect this journal as I would any other homework assignment, and set the due date on my online course web page to after homeroom of the following day.  This allows the students to work on it in the morning during their homeroom classes if they do not have internet access at home.  This is important to consider if the students do not have time to finish it after the problem solving assessment.   

Following the lesson, I share in my video narrative a strategy to give meaningful feedback and how to "coach up" students.