Bring math problem-solving to life with CueThink!
CueThink® is a new digital tool for documenting and recording problem-solving. Math standards are taught as students apply mathematician George Pólya’s 4 phases of Understand, Plan, Solve, and Review. The phases encourage students to slow down and explain their thinking.
- What do you notice?,
- What do you wonder about?,
- What is your estimate?
- Choose a strategy, and
- Write a plan.
When they have created their solution, checklists help them review their math and their recording.
Click below to watch a video!
4 phases of problem-solving
The CueThink application is based upon the research of George Pólya. The 4 phases of problem solving are Understand, Plan, Solve, and Review. Students are encouraged to follow the order of the phases, but there is fluidity to move between the phases.
CueThink student examples
These student examples of Thinklets, created within CueThink, show how this tool is used to solve and share the same problem in different ways. Students are encouraged to understand the problem by noticing, wondering, and estimating. Students are able to choose the question they are going to answer. In these video examples, the student has chosen to answer the question, “How many gumballs did Charlie start with?”
In Thinklet example A, the student uses counters to create a visual model of the situation. Each pile of counters is labeled and the student creates a pile for each person named in the problem. While the student makes some mistakes, there is a lot of good reasoning. The teacher would not see that reasoning if they only saw the answer of 68 gumballs. In the annotation screen at right, you can see that a fellow student pointed out one error (mom did not get any gumballs) and the student responds (you're right, I'll fix that).
In Thinklet example B, the student uses a number line as a visual representation, something more abstract than the images of counters used in Thinklet example A. There is no equation given, but the verbal reasoning in the video clearly explains the student’s solution pathway.
Portrait of a Graduate White Paper
This white paper, by Sam Rhodes PhD, discusses how regularly incorporating problem-solving into mathematics offers a gateway for teachers to meaningfully integrate 21st century skills, such as those captured by the Profile of a Graduate movement.