Beth's students solve problems in groups. Before they get to work, Beth reminds her students that precise reading of a problem is an important first step. Beth's school utilizes this active reading checklist, so Beth demonstrates the use of this tool. This checklist requires students to read the question, circle key task words, underline important information, write what the question is asking you to do, develop a plan, and answer the question.
The Isosceles Triangle Theorems provide great opportunities for work on algebra skills. With this in mind, I hand out the Isosceles Triangle Problems. I ask my students to work on them in groups and come to agreement on an answer before moving on to the next problem (MP3).
I introduce these problems by emphasizing the importance of precise reading of terms, preparing and annotating diagrams, and engaging one's imagination to apply the given information. As necessary I will intervene if students are misreading information. The Common Core increases expectations for students to read, process, and apply information from a text. In Geometry, I think that this requires me to use more literacy and reading strategies with my students. Fortunately, in my school, an Active Reading Strategy is used in all disciplines. I refer to this strategy as I hand out the problems, glad that the effort is school wide, rather than falling on my shoulders.
Sarah introduces students to the break apart method as a means of chunking to make meaning of multi-step problems. Sarah's students underline each step of the problem to break the problem into more manageable chunks.