Lesson Plan for Activity 3

Lesson Plan Handouts

Summary of Activity 3: Problem Solving Interviews

Prospective teachers conduct a single problem solving interview or a series of interviews with one or more students in their practicum classroom. The grade level of the child is not important, but one of the students should be the SAME student that participated in Activity 1 (“Getting to Know You” Interview) and/or Activity 2 (Shadow a Student) of this module. These interviews provide an opportunity to practice eliciting, interpreting, and assessing student thinking about mathematics, with a particular focus on children’s understanding of number concepts.

  • CS 3 – Problem Solving Interview Guidelines
  • CS 4 – Problem Sequence for Addition/Subtraction and Multiplication/Division Problems
  • CS 5 – Addition/Subtraction and Multiplication/Division Problems
  • CS 6 – Fraction Interview Problems
  • CS 7 – Bare Number Fraction Problems
  • CS 8 – Base 10 Concepts 1
  • CS 9 – Base 10 Concepts 2
  • CS 10 – Interview Scenarios
  • CS 11 – Problem Solving Interview Write-up Assignment


The launch for this activity includes four components: a) reviewing the interview protocols and procedures for conducting the interview (Handout CS 3), b) reviewing possible interview scenarios, c) viewing and discussing video clips of sample one-on-one interviews, and d) discussing relevant readings.


The problem solving interviews with the elementary school students are conducted in the elementary school. See Handouts CS 4 – CS 9.


Prospective teachers meet in small grade-level groups to discuss a) the strategies that students used (with attention to the details of what students did to solve a particular problem), and b) what they learned about their student’s understanding based on their interactions during the interview. In a written report following each enactment of a problem solving interview, prospective teachers summarize what they learned about the student’s mathematical thinking and how they might use what they learned to guide their instruction.

Goals for Analyzing Mathematics Lesson Plan(s)

  • learn more about an individual child’s mathematical thinking, including their strategies for solving problems and their understanding of particular content areas.
  • practice eliciting, clarifying and extendingstudents’ thinking about mathematics.


Activity 1 Activity 2 Activity 4