Problem solving in mathematics is one of the most difficult skills for students to develop. Most students can solve math problems that involve numbers and equations. However, when the same problem appears in sentence or paragraph format, many students experience difficulty and become frustrated.
A word problem requires higher-order thinking skills. Since the mathematics is embedded within the problem, the problem solver must extract the key information from the short paragraph. A word problem can be solved with a variety of different strategies. Here are a few strategies that can be used to help your student at home:
1. Use a 4 Step Method:
4 Step Method
1) Understand - Determine what information is given in the problem and what you needto find. Do you have all the information you need to solve the problem? What doyou know? What do you need to find out?
2) Plan - After you understand the problem, choose astrategy for solving it.
3) Solve - Solve the problem by using the strategy you chose.
4) Check - Check your answer. Read the problem again and seeif your answer makes sense.
How many in all
More than/less than
How many are left
How many more
How much more
How many in all
Doubled, Tripled, etc.
How many in each
3. Draw a picture - A proof drawing can help you visualize what is wanted in the math problem.Label and use your drawing to create a number sentence.
4. Look for a pattern - A table is a great method for organizing information and once the informationis in the table, it is a lot easier to find a pattern in the data.