Defining Problem Based Learning

Focus Area: OUR 6-8 / IM 6-12 Math
Audience:

TTeachers

Pathway: Understanding

Available Now

Overview

In this series of five 2-hour virtual workshops, teachers will be introduced to the Open Up Resources 6-8/IM 6-12 Math Curriculum and how it is designed to help students develop strong conceptual understanding by inviting them to make sense of increasingly challenging problems. In each session, participants will have the opportunity to explore the resources from both a student and a teacher perspective, and to experiment with strategic planning approaches tailored to the unique structures of the curriculum. The process of coming together for multiple sessions will allow teachers to reflect in between meetings, helping them deepen their understanding of the curriculum over time. This introduction to OUR 6-8 Math will leave participants feeling confident and eager to continue to work with this problem-based approach to math instruction. 

This workshop is part of a series. Explore the other workshop sessions below:

Audience

This series of workshops is designed for educators new to OUR 6-8/IM 6-12 Math who are preparing to or have recently begun implementing the curriculum with students.

Specifications

  • Three, four, or five 2-hour sessions 
  • The Launch Virtual Learning Series is designed for any combination of grade 6, 7, and 8 teachers. Special education teachers, administrators, coaches, and others are welcome to join. The sessions can also be tailored to focus on a specific grade level (6th, 7th, or 8th).
  • The ideal time for this experience would be over the course of the summer prior to the beginning of the first year of the curriculum implementation. If participants have had the opportunity to pilot a few lessons or a unit of the curriculum, the learning experience will be even richer. The sessions could be scheduled on consecutive days, or with as many as 2 intervening weeks between each session.

Outcome

Outcome: I can successfully launch the curriculum by navigating the resources, understanding the structure, and facilitating problem-based activities learning.

Participants will gain awareness of the structure and goals of the curriculum, and develop understanding of how it is designed for problem-based learning and the implications on their instructional practice. Over the course of the series, they will: 

  • Define the key characteristics of problem-based math instruction
  • Explore the way the curriculum is structured to bring these characteristics to life
  • Internalize the learning progression of multiple lessons in Unit 1
  • Build their understanding of the curriculum resources and how to use them to plan for student access and engagement

The key characteristics of a problem-based approach to math instruction include: 

  • A classroom culture where students believe they can tackle problems on their own and are willing to learn by sharing and listening to each other
  • The Launch – Student Work Time – Synthesis structure of classroom activities where the teacher helps students compare and reflect after they’ve worked on a problem for a while instead of following a progression of gradual release 
  • Each lesson and activity has a discrete learning purpose
  • Learning experiences are carefully sequenced to help students to develop conceptual understanding over time and eventually reach procedural fluency.
  • A focus on discourse where students are communicating with each other to explain their mathematical thinking 

Learning Experience

Session A: Defining Problem Based Learning

  • Define the goals of problem-based math
  • Explore a lesson from the OUR 6-8 Math Curriculum
  • Build understanding of the characteristics that make this curriculum problem-based