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BUCK That Long-Form Math Problem!

Found in: Mathematics, Problem Solving

As we dig deeper into the Common Core math standards, the expected rigor and level of complexity can sometimes overwhelm students, especially when they are asked to work towards solutions for problems that involve more than simple algorithms. One entry point is the use of a process to guide students' thinking.

When encountering a long-form math problem, teach students how to BUCK the problem:

B - Box the main question in the problem. This forces students to define what the problem is really asking about. When a solution is determined, its label will be found within that box.

U - Underline descriptive information that is important to solving the problem. Be concise. Allowing students to underline too much detracts from their ability to focus on the next steps.

C - Circle any words that need explanation. What students circle will vary, depending on their skill with vocabulary. A quick look at those circles will provide valuable information about students' level of understanding and possible reading needs. Allow them time to uncover the meaning of the words they've circled.

K - Kick out numbers that are not needed to solve this part of the problem. This teaches students that just because a number is present, it isn't necessarily going to be part of the solution.

From here, students use their math skills to determine and check their solution and present it with its label and explanation.


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