MED 383w



The paper "Teaching Mathematical Problem Solving: Implementing the Vision" is a very nice summary of the purpose and the challenge of teaching open-ended problem solving in school mathematics.

Links to handouts given in class

  1. First day handout
  2. What you may assume
  3. Handout on Polya's 4 Steps
  4. Handout on Dealing with Frustration
  5. Guidelines for written assignments
  6. NWREL Mathematics Problem-Solving Scoring Guide

Problem sets

  1. First problem set
  2. Second problem set
  3. Third problem set
  4. Fourth problem set
  5. Fifth problem set
  6. Sixth problem set

From the link below, you can access the daily assignments made in class.

Daily Assignments

Course Information

Mathematics as Problem Solving

Course numbers: 


MED 383w is a course for students interested in teaching mathematics at the secondary, middle school, elementary, or two-year college level. 


MED 383w: MED 270 with grades of B or better (or evidence of strong mathematics achievement past calculus), interest in teaching mathematics at the secondary or elementary level, and permission of instructor.


Course Description:

An introduction to the basic techniques of problem solving, creative problem solving, the methods of Polya, Schoenfeld, and others, with applications to the areas of algebra, geometry, analysis, and recreational mathematics.  The course also considers strategies of teaching problem solving, as well as research in this area."

Individual and group problem solving, along with readings from the process strands of the Principles and Standards for School Mathematics, plus discussion of problem solving heuristics and strategies, and of methods of evaluating problem solving.  Reasoning, communicating mathematics, mathematical representations, and connections between various mathematical topics will be emphasized.


 Meeting times and location

Days: Tr
Time:  9:25 am - 10:40 am and 1:40 pm - 2:55 pm
Place:     BA 202                 and BA 214A


Name: Jane R. Cushman

Office: Bishop Hall 343

Office hours: MW(F) 1 pm - 3 pm and by appointment

Phone: (716)878-6319
E-mail:cushmaj at

Supplementary Textbook

Principles and Standards for School Mathematics, National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, 2000. This may be purchased as a book, as a CD-ROM, or in pdf format from the website linked here. The book should also be available at campus bookstores. The full text is available online at the link here, but most students prefer to purchase the book or pdf version for ease in reading.

Attendance policy

Regular attendance is expected at all class meeting.  There will be a large amount of in-class work which will be done in the class which cannot be made up.  All absences must be discussed with me.


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This page was last updated September, 2012 by Jane R. Cushman