This really alarmed me because I have never in my 14 years of teaching encountered 4th grade students who were all novice problem solvers. I rolled up my sleeves and came up with a plan! I decided to introduce C.U.B.E.S to the students Circle important numbers, Underline the questions, Box in math action words, Evaluate the information, Solve. This helped tremendously, however there the students continued to show a disconnection between identifying important information and solving the problem.
This school year my students have challenged my ability to teach problem solving because of their lack of problem solving skills from previous grade levels. At the beginning of the year I assessed my students problem solving ability and on a scale of 1 to 4 every students score a 1 which is considered a novice problem solver.
Today I formally introduce the students to RDW (Read, Draw, Write). The picture below shows the problem that I worked with my students to demonstrate how to incorporate C.U.B.E.S into the R of RDW and to connect the chosen math tool to the important information that was identified in the problem.
After solving part A of the problem I then released the students to solve part B independently on the back of the paper. I was so surprised when there were not any students raising their hands asking for help with solving the problem. I was so relieved to see my students actually working independently to problem solve. It was a proud teacher moment!
It has been a journey with problem solving this year but I have found my perfect match with C.U.B.E.S and RDW!