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Math Problem of the Day: Questions That Get Kids Thinking

During my early years of teaching, I was always looking for a way to challenge my students, but not make things overly frustrating. I finally figured out an awesome way to slide in higher-order questions and increase student engagement…Math Problem of the Day.

student thinking about a math problem of the day

What Is Problem of the Day?

The math problem of the day or problem of the week is a high-quality question that requires a deeper level of thinking.

So, what makes a quality question?

Quality questions require critical thinking and have one or more of the following characteristics:

  1. Can be solved in different ways (i.e. using a number line, drawing a picture, etc.)
  2. Are open-ended
  3. Require students to explain or justify their answers
  4. Can have more than one solution

But where can you find these types of questions? You can create them yourself OR you can SAVE TIME and get them here.

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3 Ways to Incorporate Problem of the Day into Your Math Block

There are several different ways to incorporate a math problem of the day or week into your schedule. Let’s talk about what this would look like as a daily activity.

Problem of the Day

Since your math warm-ups should be relatively short (about 5 – 7 minutes), provide the problem, and have students solve independently. If you only want to check your students’ work, then this is the best way to go.

math problem of the one day example schedule

HOWEVER…if you want students to share their work with the class, then create a schedule that includes one day for students to problem solve and one day for students to discuss.

math problem of the day two day example schedule

Problem of the Week

Assign student groups the problem at the beginning of the week. Give them time to solve it one their own and then share out in a group. Then provide time for groups to share with the class. You can give students points or other rewards for working together and for correct solutions.

math problem of the week five day example schedule

Where to Get Meaningful Tasks

If you are looking for grade-level specific Math Problem of the Day tasks that are filled with quality questions, you’re in the right place. I got you!

math problem of the day task card inside a math journal with a scoring rubric

These “done for you” tasks are aligned to grade-level standards and come in 3 easy to use formats:

  • Task Cards: Great for math centers! There are 2 problems per page.
  • (K-2) Worksheets: Structured worksheets that provide extra support for younger students to record their responses.
  • (3-5) Recording Sheets: Sheets students paste into their notebooks or math journals with plenty of room to solve and explain their work.

Boost your students’ critical thinking and reasoning skills, while reviewing the standards with rigorous Math Problem of the Day activities.

Click on the image below to get quality questions and stretch your students’ math thinking.

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Take the stress out of implementing math centers in your classroom...