A bit of background on the Art of Problem Solving math collection

This topic contains 1 reply, has 2 voices, and was last updated by  Scott Beckett 2 years, 8 months ago.

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  • #866

    Beth Pickett

    In the EdReady forum on this community site, I went through a long list of the math resources available at both EdReady and HippoCampus, and gave some background information on several of the collections. I thought perhaps some of our HippoCampus users might like that information as well. I’ll break it up into chunks, starting with the Art of Problem Solving collection.

    The Art of Problem Solving videos are aimed at middle school and high school students. They consist of a teacher on screen (Richard Rusczyk, a Princeton grad and USA Mathematical Olympiad winner from 1989) demonstrating how to think through problems, with computer-generated (that is, clearly readable) numbers onscreen. The pre-algebra videos from this collection correlate most strongly to 7th grade standards; Introduction to Algebra is more targeted to 8th and 9th graders, and Geometry to 9th and 10th graders. The content from AoPS’s Counting and Probability was created to teach math students how to solve the types of math problems they encounter in math competitions, such as the Math Counts competitions and the Math Olympiads. The presentation style is aimed at a slightly younger crowd than many developmental math courses might include, but the explanations are clear and the logic and thought process made explicit, which is helpful to any student.

    Any collection that is included at HippoCampus must pass muster with a subject matter expert (SME). In this collection, the SME’s comments are worth quoting:

    “I give the video presentation very high marks for the way the material in them is presented. I have three specific reasons for saying that. The first is that the presenter states a problem and then first solves it using specific numbers as an example. Then the presenter generalizes the solution through the use of variables to do the same problem. In presentation 12.1 on Proving the Pythagorean Theorem, the presenter specifically explains to the student how he attacks proofs, “I work through one specific example with numbers, and then I replace all the numbers with variables and…that will give me my proof.” On several of the videos, as I was writing notes I found myself on several occasions making note of how valuable I thought it was that the presenter first did an example with numbers, and then did the same example again with variables. My second reason for liking the methodology of the presentation is that on several occasions the presenter after working the problem one way, would then continue on and work the same problem a different way, making it clear to the students there is not just one way to do and see math problems. The third reason, and often not used by math teachers when it should be, is that after getting an answer often the presenter would spend just a short time exploring if “this answer is reasonable.”

  • #911

    Scott Beckett

    Beth, I’ll check this out.  Student results from our Fall 2014 experience with EdReady indicated that students had lots of trouble with word problems, the bane of algebra.  Thanks for bringing this resource to us and posting your description.

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