The Research | background

“… a large percentage of children fail mathematics because they can’t read nor understand the wording of the tasks they are given to solve by mathematics teachers.”

Excerpt from Biography of Anne Newman as a teacher

The Hurdles

Newman 5 basic steps

Newman’s prompts

Newman suggested five prompts to determine where errors may occur in students’ attempts to solve written problems.

The Hurdles

Newman’s Prompts


1. Please read the question to me.


2. Tell me what the question is asking you to do.


3. Tell me how you are going to find the answer.

Processing Skills

4. Show me what to do to get the answer.


5. Now, write down your answer.

Problem 1 | Pizza

What can you tell us about Taylor’s problem solving?

Ben has 2 identical pizzas. He cuts one pizza equally into 4 slices. He then cuts the other pizza equally into 8 small slices. A large slice weighs 32 grams more than the small slice. What is the mass of one whole pizza?

Answer = ________

Stage 3: Pizzas

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Problem 1 | Milk Jug

What can you tell us about Meesam's problem solving?

milk jug



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Click here to download Newman's Proforma (.rtf file)