Click Here to Access Your Online Course


>> PDI Home > Flex Online Courses > Math Problem-Solving Strategies for Grades 3-6


Math Problem-Solving Strategies for Grades 3-6/Flex Course


Why do students seem to have such a difficult time with the mathematical problem-solving process? The recent advent of the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics has shifted the focus from teaching problem solving to teaching via problem solving. This online course is designed for teachers in grades 3-6 who want to help their students become critical and logical mathematical thinkers. Specific strategies are introduced that improve the way students approach math problems. Information on the problem-solving process is shared together with distinct suggestions for incorporating specific problem-solving strategies such as finding a pattern, working backwards, and logical reasoning. This course is worth 3 ⅓ semester units/5 quarter units from UC San Diego Extension. For detailed information on university credit, click here.

"The content and resources were very detailed and topic specific. There was a wealth of background information provided about the development of the current math standards." - Kelly Ann Cherry


Enrollment Options

Register] Course Registration Only $144

Register]Course Plus Credit from UC San Diego Extension Only $374


Required Resource Book: This course has a modestly-priced required resource book (available in both new and used versions) that can be purchased through Amazon using the following link. Note that you can begin and participate in your course before the book arrives.

Making Number Talks Matter” by Cathy Humphreys and Ruth Parker

If you are registering for multiple courses, use the following link to access the book list for all PDI courses with direct purchase links through Amazon. PDI Course Resource Book List


Topical Outline / Click here to request a copy of the detailed syllabus

PDI Course Number: 32T02

UCSD Course Number: EDUC41594

Unit One

  • Why Problem Solving and Critical-Thinking Skills are Important
  • Introduction to the NCTM Standards and Common Core State Standards for Mathematics
  • The Role of Mathematics Assessment
  • Assignment #1: Write an autobiography
  • Test #1

Unit Two

  • The Problem-Solving Process
  • Student-Centered Teaching: Using Problems as a Teaching Tool
  • Grouping Strategies
  • Assignment #2: Article reflection
  • Test #2

Unit Three

  • Problem Solving Strategy #1: Choose an Operation
  • Problem Solving Strategy #2: Find a Pattern
  • Problem Solving Strategy #3: Make a Table
  • Test #3
  • Assignment #3: Share your expertise

Unit Four

  • Problem Solving Strategy #4: Make an Organized List
  • Problem Solving Strategy #5: Draw a Picture of Diagram
  • Problem Solving Strategy #6: Guess and Check
  • Test #4

Unit Five

  • Problem Solving Strategy #7: Work Backward
  • Problem Solving Strategy #8: Logical Reasoning
  • Make it Meaningful—Real-World Problem Solving
  • Test #5

Unit Six

  • The Use of Manipulatives in Problem Solving
  • Using Literature to Teach Problem-Solving Skills
  • Assessing Problem Solving
  • Assignment #4: Create a real-world math problem to highlight each problem-solving strategy
  • Assignment #5: Reading/Learning Log (Based on required resource book)