Solving problems, especially word problems, are always a challenge. To become a good problem solver you need to have a plan or method which is easy to follow to determine what needs to be solved. Then the plan is carried out to solve the problem. The key is to have a plan which works in any math problem solving situation. For students having problems with problem solving, the following 20 tips are provided for helping children become good problem solvers.
Tip 1: When given a problem to solve look for clues to determine what math operation is needed to solve the problem, for example addition, subtraction, etc.
Tip 2: Read the problem carefully as you look for clues and important information. Write down the clues, underline, or highlight the clues.
Tip 3: Look for key words like sum, difference, product, perimeter, area, etc. They will lead you to what operation you need to use. Rewrite the problem if necessary.
Tip 4: Look for what you need to find out, for example: how many will you have left, the total will be, everyone gets red, everyone gets one of each, etc. They will also lead you to the type of operation needed to solve the problem.
Tip 5: Use variable symbols, such as “X” for missing information.
Tip 6: Eliminate all non-essential information by drawing a line through this distracting information.
Tip 7: Addition problems use words like sum, total, in all, and perimeter.
Tip 8: Subtraction problems use words like difference, how much more, and exceeds.
Tip 9: Multiplication problems use words like product, total, area, and times.
Tip 10: Division problems use words like share, distribute, quotient, and average.
Tip 11: Draw sketches, drawings, and models to see the problem.
Tip 12: Use guess and check techniques to see if you are on the right track. Continue reading 20 Tips for Helping Children Become Good Problem Solvers