Guest Post: Problem Solving With Mrs Morris

This is a guest post by Mrs Morris. Mrs Morris used to team teach with Miss Jordan. She is currently on family leave looking after her baby girl.

Today was planning day for the grade three and four teachers. While the teachers were busy getting ready for next term, the students rotated around different classrooms for some exciting lessons.

Mrs Morris took all the grade threes and fours for a forty minute problem solving lesson. The lesson was called “Plants” and was adapted from the NRICH site. 

Watch the presentation below to see how the problem unfolds.

The students did a fabulous job of using problem solving strategies. Many started with “guess, check and improve” and some students moved on to “working systematically”.

Here are some of the 4A and 4B mathematicians using counters and Venn diagrams to try to solve the problem.

Plants Problem Solving 1

Plants Problem Solving 2

Plants Problem Solving 3

Plants Problem Solving 4


Many students found six or more solutions with a small number of children finding 11 or 12 possible arrangements!

How many solutions to the plants problem can you find?

What strategies did you use to solve the problem?

19 thoughts on “Guest Post: Problem Solving With Mrs Morris

  1. Dear Miss Jordan,4A and 4B,
    I really liked this rotation because it includes a lot of thinking and it requires a lot strategies, which I like. I was paired up with Georgie and we came up with 7 solutions to this problem. Most of the times we were using the strategie, guess and check. What was a strategie that you used?

    What does symestically mean? I just wanted to clarify this because I don’t know what it means. Does it mean that you work continuesly?

    Chat soon

  2. Dear 4B,

    I loved doing the problem solving with Mrs Morris! I was partners with Alex and we got 12 solutions .

    Me and Alex moved all the counters around , then we checked it( if it didn’t work we would move some others around till we got the answers) and then wrote it down .

    I really liked the rotation with Mrs Morris!


    • Dear Eevie,
      Wow! You got 12 solutions, that is a great achievement!

      What was the strategie you used? Or did you not use one? Georgie and I tried using different ideas for figuring out our solutions.

      We got 7 solutions finished. I thought that this session had been thought through really well and I liked the main idea of the problem.


      • Dear Daisy,

        Alex and me got so many solutions by moving the counters in random places, and then checking if they were right. Once we checked our solution we changed it or wrote it down ( if it was right) .

        It is great that you got 7 solutions ! That is a lot of solutions ! Keep trying and it is great that you tried to use different solutions ! Great job ;)!

        I really liked doing the rotation with Mrs Morris! It was great fun!

        See you Soon,

    • Hi Eveie,

      WOW! You and Alex must be really fast workers at maths. I was with Nelly and we got 5 or 6 on the sheet.

      I really liked the problem solving with Mrs Morris too. It was super super fun.

      Warm Regards,

      • Dear Kennedy ,

        Thanks for replying to my comment! Alex and me were just switching counters around and then checking them. What strategies did you use?

        5 and 6 solutions is still a lot ! You did a great job!

        I also liked doing the problem solving with Mrs Morris! I think it was my favourite rotation . It was very fun!

        Keep in touch,

  3. Hi Daisy and Eevie,

    Thanks for your comments! It was great to see you both again yesterday.

    I’m very pleased to hear you enjoyed the lesson. You both did a fabulous job to find so many solutions!

    Daisy, I love that you asked for “working systematically” to be clarified. It means an ordered sort of way of working. Rather than trying different solutions randomly (which is a great way to start!), you might like to start following a pattern.

    For example, you could try putting three counters in the middle and the rest in the outside sections. Then, one at a time, you could move a counter in a pattern and see if that works.
    I hope that helps explain it for you.

    Best wishes,
    Mrs Morris

    • Dear Mrs Morris,

      I loved doing your rotation! I think it was my favourite rotation of the day! I loved how we had to make sure there was 5,6 and 7 for each child. It was very fun!

      How much combinations did the highest group get ? Also great rotation ! it was really fun!


      • Hi Eevie,

        I’m so glad you enjoyed the lesson! My grade four class at Leopold enjoyed it so I hoped you would too.

        I think the most combinations a group found was 12. I wonder if any students have figured out any more at home.

        I hope you’re enjoying your last week of term.

        Best wishes,
        Mrs Morris

        • Dear Mrs Morris,

          Thank you for leaving a comment on are blog and for replying to me! The lesson was really fun and I would rate it 10/10!

          I was really hoping to do it at home but I did not get time 🙁 . But it was one of the best lessons ever! And I am very surprised that Alex and me also got 12 solutions !

          I really am enjoying my last week of term! Are you? We have been doing fun things like movie trailers and tomorrow we have CROSS COUNTRY!

          Have a great holiday,

  4. Dear Miss Jordan,

    All of the problem solving look great, it looks like they were all working hard.
    On the sheet I got 6 different ones. They were a bit challenging but I got through it. The strategy I used was guess then check like Daisy.
    Best wishes, have a good week see you next term.


    • Hi Summer,
      WOW! 6 is a lot of different answers! I was partners with Abby, I think we got about 3,4,5 or 6.

      They were all pretty tricky, but we got through some.

      See you next term!

      • Hello Emma,
        Thank you for replying to me.
        You got a lot done too.
        Some of them were very tricky indeed.
        What strategies did you use?
        Good luck on cross country.
        Warm wishes Summer

        • Dear Summer,

          You are really good at leaving blog comments on the blog! You have done a lot of comment so far in this year!

          The strategie Alex.H and me used was one Mrs Morris said. It was randomly moving counters around, checking them and then we wrote it down. The strategie worked out really well, because in the end Alex and me got 12 solutions!

          What strategie did you use?
          What was your favourite roataion of the day? I liked Mrs Morris’s lesson.

          See you soon,
          Eevie 🙂

        • Dear Summer,
          Thank you for replying to me!

          I used the guess and check and improve strategy. It was a very challenging task. What was one of your strategy that you used?

          See when the holidays are over,

  5. Dear Miss Jordan , Miss curtain and 4A B

    Ella and I found 6 ways to solve the problem.

    A stragtie that we did was guess, check replie.


  6. Dear Miss Jordan ,4A and 4B,

    What a great post ! Specialist day was really fun , but this was probably my favourite rotation . What was your favourite rotation ?


    How many solutions to the plant problem an you find?
    Well Alex.H and me got 12 answers in the end. How many did you get?

    What strategies did you use to solve the problem?
    Alex and me just moved counters around, till we got a solution. Did you use the same strategy? If you didn’t what strategy did you use?

    Great job on cross country,
    Eevie 😉

    • Dear Evie,
      It is so great that you normally leave a comment on the class blog.
      Wow you got a lot done. What were some of the strategies did you use? How did you get so many done.

      Keep in touch,

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