Collaborative Problem-Solving in Math

12 February 2015

Math group work where everyone works
Collaborative Responses in Math - Stick-It-Together
 Collaborative Problem Solving Activity for Grade 6 Common CoreI love watching my students work together on a common goal - especially when that goal is producing the best work they can.

I've been doing activities similar to my Stick-It Together resources for a while in the classroom.  I've found them to be THE.BEST way to keep all students accountable for their own work, and actually participate in the group talk.  It is amazing to see how their answers grow from their individual responses, to their "best response" and defend their thinking.  And ... not that you teacher rockstars need any help, but this one is always a hit with admin.

How It Works:
Variation #1 - Students work in groups of 4.  One problem-solving page per student.  Each student in the group individually answers the problem or question on a sticky note (give a time limit for this).  Students then place all their sticky notes on a common page and read through the answers.  Taking the very best parts of each person's answer, they discuss and work together to build the best possible answer they can.

Variation #2 - Hand out sticky notes.  Project the problem-solving page so that all students can see the problem, and have them solve it on their sticky note.  From there, the teacher can group students according to when they finish their individual answers, or teacher-chosen groups, or even group them by sticky note color.

I've done these types of activities in both language and math, and a variation of this activity is included in my Building Better Responses resources.

Earlier this year I created my first Stick-It Together Resource - a collaborative activity for reader responses.    

Soon after, I began to get requests for a similar resource for math.  So here it is ... my Stick-It Together for Collaborative Problem-Solving.  The resources are specifically geared to the common core standards - with one question for every single standard.  I have created these math problem-solving resources for 3rd - 6th grade.

Each page contains a problem geared to a specific standard, an "I can ..." learning goal, problem-solving success criteria, space for students' individual sticky notes, and a space for the students to build their best collaborative answer.

Also included in the resource are levelled exemplars for students to see and discuss what makes a level 1, 2, 3, and 4 response.  After completing a few of these problems, I like to do a class or two where we really examine the exemplars in the resources, and identify look-fors for each level.  We then make posters or anchor charts to show the differences using some of our own work examples.  There is also a rubric for assessment, and an answer key.

My students love working together on tasks like this, and I love the collaboration and team work skills they build ... not to mention the review of concepts and help from peers.  When groups complete the task, I like to project their work over the whiteboard and let them present their final responses to the class.  They can take turns explaining how they arrived at the answer, and why they believe they accomplished the task of building the best answer they could.

 Collaborative Problem Solving Activity for Grade 6 Common Core Math
You can take a peek at my newest resource by clicking HERE or on the picture to the right.  Take a peek at some of the sample pages from the resource below.

Click the links below to see the different grade levels in this series:


  1. I really hope you are able to create these for 3rd grade!

  2. I want to thank you for your blog. I have been visiting it for years. I started lapbooking and interactive notebooks in my 3rd grade class and come to your site quite frequently. I have just recently started my own blog and would like to link. I put your button on my site already. I also signed up for your updates. Thank you again. Doreen

  3. Please create some for 2nd grade.

  4. Please create some for 2nd grade.

  5. Great Idea!! I look forward to getting those for upper grades!! I am high school math educator. This would be truly awesome!!