Bishop Shanahan National School

Maths - Problem of the Week

Problem solving is an essential part of the teaching of mathematics as it encompasses skills and functions that are an important part of everyday life.  Problem solving has always formed part of the Maths Curriculum here in B.S.N.S. and the children have been taught problem solving strategies.  Most problem solving questions have more than one solution.  The process of solving the problem and the sharing of a variety of strategies is an important teaching tool in itself.  To further enhance the experience for the children they will now be set a problem of the week every Monday.  The children may work on it in one of two ways:


Traditional Method – Each child will take home a written copy of the problem, work on it during the week and then present the solution on Friday.


Using Padlet – Padlet is a free application where you can create an online bulletin board that you use to display information for any topic.  Each week you will receive an email asking you to join the Problem of the Week if you so wish.  Click on the link in the email, ‘view padlet’ to see the problem and you and your child can then discuss and solve the problem.  You will see a + sign where you can then write directly on the padlet or ideally take a video of your child working out the problem and post to the bulletin board.  Your teacher will approve all children’s posts before they will be available to view by everyone.  (If you choose to take a video of your child working on the problem, we recommend that you only show the hands.)


On Friday the teacher will draw together the various methodologies and solutions from all of the children in the class, thus enhancing and reinforcing good problem solving skills.  Our Problem solving strategies are:

  1. Draw a picture or diagram
  2. Find a pattern
  3. Guess, check and revise
  4. Use concrete objects
  5. Use a number sentence
  6. Read the question twice
  7. Count out loud
  8. Use your fingers

Encourage your child to use these strategies when figuring out the problems.


Problem of the Week example:

Can you help Timmy put his 27 puppies to bed? There must be the same number of puppies in each bed. How many puppies will there be in each bed?  (There has to be more than one bed and more than one puppy in each bed.)

Click on the above link for an example padlet for the problem and an example answer.  You will see that the child used strategies 3, 4 and 7 to solve the problem.


We are excited by this new initiative and hope that your child will find enjoyment in the challenges ahead.


30th January 2018