Problem Solving Activities

  1. Click here for STEM Activities
  2. Click here for Great Problems
  3. Click here for Manipulatives
  4. Click here for Links to Even More!
  5. Click here for Other Resources

STEM activities:

    • Can you build the highest arch with blocks?
    • Can you make houses for the 3 little pigs? Which one would blow down?
    • You have 20 straws and 20 pieces of play-doh…what structure can you build using all the resources?
    • Any maker-space activity!

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Great problems:

    • Do we have enough snacks for everyone?
    • How can we share these 5 cookies with two friends?
    • Do we have enough ingredients to make cupcakes for everyone?
    • How many seeds can we plant in this garden if they have to be 2 inches away from  each other.
    • I’m thinking of a number that describes…(ants on a log, kids in the playground etc) what could it be? Why?
    • Create a picture (or use manipulatives) that shows 3 and 2 of something.
    • How are the numbers 3 and 13 alike? How are they different? Show me.
    • Use a pan balance, put blocks on it to show me two amounts that are the same / more / less.
    • How many different ways could we share 7 dolls between two people? Would it be fair? (Use dolls of different sizes)
    • Daddy’s getting a new 7 seater mini-van! How many friends could we bring for a ride?

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Manipulatives that develop problem-solving:

    • Puzzles
    • Mazes
    • Pattern block challenges
    • Tangram activities

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Links to Rich tasks:

Pirate Panda Activity (nrich)

The Doorbell Rang Activity (nrich)

Youcubed Rich Tasks for Kindergarten

Illuminations’ Pre-k to 2 Problems

The eagle and the bear (NCTM)

How many berries? (NCTM)

How many coke combo’s? (Kaplinsky)

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Other Resources:


Good Questions by Marion Small

What’s your Problem? By P. Skinner (1990)


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Do you have more problem-solving suggestions? Write them in the comments below!

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