Mathematics in 4/5 Patterson

Where math is all about discovery!

Problem Solving in Math

In 4/5 Patterson, we are not just about paper and pencil math tasks. We like to take a more inquiry based approach to our learning.....we are doing important mathematical work that is based on our interests, strengths and needs. We love investigating math problems and asking questions about things that mean something to us! In our class, we use the problem solving method of U.N.C.L.E. This stands for "Understand, Need a Plan, Carry Out the Plan, Look Back and Explain our Thinking". By following these steps we not only solve the problem, we fully investigate it and are able to understand and explain the process of how we arrived at the answer. We like to do this in pairs or small groups.....collaboration is a big part of our classroom. Being able to discuss mathematical questions with our peers is a great way to develop our problem solving skills as well as think critically about the tasks we are involved in. We know that there are many different ways to solve the same question and by working together, we can examine these different methods.

The Three Part Lesson

In our classroom we follow the Three Part Lesson format. This means that there are three specific elements to solving our problems.

First, we have a Mind's On activity that gets us thinking about the work that we are going to do. For example, if we are going to be working with perimeter and area, Mrs. Patterson might ask us a question that will jog our brains about the topic. This allows us to think about what we might already know and how we can use it in our work.

The second part of our lesson is the real "meat and potatoes" of what we are doing. This is where we get a chance to work on a mathematical problem that Mrs. Patterson has given us based on our interests...... something that really means something to us. For example, when the baby ducks were born in the courtyard, we needed to build a pen to house the ducklings. This problem involved perimeter and area and it was very important to us because we wanted to keep our new ducklings safe. Real life, meaningful math problems can be FUN!

The third part of our lesson is when we get a chance to share our thinking with the whole class. We get to see the different ways that other groups solved the same questions. It is wonderful to see that even though we may have arrived at the same answer, there are so many ways to go about it!

Three Part Math Lesson

What Do the Experts Have to Say?

Dr. Marian Small is one of the province's leading voices on mathematical education. The following clip provides a look into her philosophy of teaching math and mathematical instruction in today's classroom.

For more information, you can visit her website at:


If you have any questions in regards to your child's math program or would like further information, please feel free to call me at 519-xxx-xxx.


Mrs. J. Patterson