Problem of the Week (POW) problems are fun to do, and each one illustrates an important concept in math or an important moment in math history. Pascal's Triangle is a typical example, as it begins with just adding whole numbers, and its repetitive nature and rapid growth often fascinate younger students. Yet this same problem offers older students an opportunity to work on binomial coefficients, combinations, and advanced topics in number theory.
A new Problem of the Week is introduced every other week, and class time in the intervening week is spent working in small groups to share students’ ongoing work on the problem. The problems that are presented are often related to topics that students are studying in other subject areas, and through these problems students encounter mathematical concepts that aren’t normally part of an elementary mathematics curriculum. Above all, POW teaches students that mathematics is a problem-solving undertaking, that many approaches are valid in working toward a solution, and that working with others can be a lot of fun and often leads everyone to a better understanding of the concepts at hand.
We encourage you to explore and share our POW archive. We will post new ones as they are assigned to the students throughout the school year. Enjoy!