Math 3-6

Systems Change
Math 3-6 > Strategies > Collaborative Problem Solving

Collaborative Problem Solving


As students solve problems in a group, they learn new strategies and practice communicating their mathematical thinking. This sharing helps students reflect on their problem-solving approaches and expands their Mathematical Flexibility.

Use It in the Classroom

Watch how this upper elementary teacher facilitates collaborative problem solving with a small group of students. He supports mathematical thinking and strengthens their Math Communication by asking students to explain their reasoning to others. He also builds their Metacognition and Self-regulation by asking students to observe and reflect on how they communicate in a group.

  • Teachers can assign challenging problems for students to work on independently then in small groups. Giving students the opportunity to tackle the problems individually first supports varying Speeds of Processing. Then, as they work with others, they can tackle the same problem with different strategies, developing their math skills with strategies that work best for them.
  • Design It into Your Product

  • Products can support collaborative problem solving by allowing learners to display and share their thinking with their peers, even at a distance. They can include features that let learners copy or combine pieces of their individual work to create a shared answer that best represents their discussion and reasoning. The facilitation of these discussions on such a platform also can support their Attention and the development of Social Awareness & Relationship Skills.
  • Factors Supported by this Strategy