Series Educate Texas Professional Development Network: Using U-P-S to Collaborate and Solve Problems

Using U-P-S to Collaborate and Solve Problems

Lesson Objective: Use the U-P-S process to understand, plan, and solve problems
Grades 9-12 / Math / Geometry


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Discussion and Supporting Materials

Thought starters

  1. How does the U-P-S process foster productive collaboration?
  2. What can you learn from Ms. Mickle about using writing in the math classroom?
  3. How does Ms. Mickle help students learn skills for success?


  • Private message to Janiece Wardlow
This is a great practice and will share with my colleagues.
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  • Private message to Rain Totten
The transcript here isn't really a transcript, F.Y.I.
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  • Private message to Victoria Silvers
I really like this strategy! I'm looking forward to implementing this in my Geometry classes for the upcoming school year.
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  • Private message to Marlo Leon
This video of techniques is very motivating. I'm going to try this out with my high school students.
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  • Private message to Lolita Sams
I love this strategy. I tried it for the first time with my 8th graders last year. It went well the student liked the UPS idea. Wish I had had better organized work sheets like in the video. Is there a UPS worksheet template?
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  • Using U-P-S to Collaborate and Solve Problems Transcript
    Instructor: TeRaze Mickle

    +++ 00:00:07 +++
    Card: Strategies: Assessment with

    Using U-P-S to Collaborate and Solve Problems Transcript
    Instructor: TeRaze Mickle

    +++ 00:00:07 +++
    Card: Strategies: Assessment with the UPS.
    TeRaze Mickle: Today we are going to use the UPS shake process again.

    Lower Third: TeRaze Mickle
    9th-10 Grade Geometry
    Cedar Hill Collegiate High School, Cedar Hill, Texas
    TeRaze Mickle: The UPS process is a strategy that I use. The U stands for understanding the problem first.
    Card: U = Understanding.
    TeRaze Mickle: The P stands for planning out the steps that you're going to use to solve the problem.
    Card: P = Planning.
    TeRaze Mickle: And the S stands for the solve part of the problem.
    Card: S = Solve.
    TeRaze Mickle: Giving the reasoning why you're doing your steps.

    Card: ? = Check

    +++ 00:00:39 +++
    TeRaze Mickle: And the check part checks for your reason to see if your answer's logical, your calculations are right.
    TeRaze Mickle: The challenge is on. Let's see, can you use the thinking the process, embedded with all the other strategies, in order to solve the problem?
    TeRaze Mickle: Doing the U process, I've noticed this: if a child can't articulate it in writing, they've probably got a reading comprehension issue.

    +++ 00:00:58 +++
    TeRaze Mickle: In this section of the planning, you're supposed to devise a plan in writing. I see the pictorial part, but where's the writing?
    TeRaze Mickle: The two, if they can't plan it, they can draw it and they can see it, then they can write it out a little bit better, but that helps me with knowing my visual learners and things like that.
    TeRaze Mickle: You're skipping all the steps in between. I'm going to need the work shown here. That came from the calculator, right?
    Student: Mm-hmm.
    TeRaze Mickle: So whatever tan was, put that there equal to x/100 and finish it out and then show me this part.

    +++ 00:01:28 +++
    TeRaze Mickle: The solve part, if they're just repeating some steps and don't know why, then that tells me I have to go back and explain why they did stuff. Go back over some more properties, some more rules, some more definitions, some theorems.
    TeRaze Mickle: Surface area?
    Student: Uh-huh.
    TeRaze Mickle: Wait a minute.
    Student: You would use volume.
    Student: Volume? Okay.

    TeRaze Mickle: Your volume is your inside. Your surface area is only the outside, so that would only the outside portion. So it has to be volume.
    TeRaze Mickle: And of course, they find a way of checking it, that means they really, really understand it.

    +++ 00:01:58 +++
    TeRaze Mickle: All of you all trying to check you work good job! Go on with that, yeah, good.

School Details

Cedar Hill High School
1 Longhorn Boulevard
Cedar Hill TX 75104
Population: 1670

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TeRaze Mickle

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