Is Problem-Solving A Problem For Your Child?

NumberWorksnWords Indootoopilly Problem solving
Photo Credit: Pexels/Yan Krukau

“Most students coming to our Tuition Centre at Indooroopilly say that they are having  problems with Problem Solving or Word Sums,” says Mark Behr, the owner of  NumberWorks’nWords Indooroopilly. 

Generally, the problem is with vocabulary and the student’s inability to translate the English  problem into a Mathematical equation. The only way to improve in this area is to learn  strategies associated with Problem Solving and to practise, practise, practise. 

Problem solving is a critical skill in school mathematics and an essential aspect of  mathematical education. It involves using mathematical concepts, strategies, and reasoning  to find solutions to real-world or abstract mathematical problems.

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Effective problem solving  not only helps students understand and apply mathematical concepts but also promotes  critical thinking, creativity, and a deeper appreciation for mathematics.

Here’s a breakdown  of understanding problem solving in school mathematics: 

Problem Identification 

The first step in problem solving is recognising and understanding the problem.  Students should read the problem carefully, identify the relevant information, and  determine what is being asked.

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1. Plan and Strategy 

After understanding the problem, students need to develop a plan or strategy to  solve it. This plan may involve choosing an appropriate mathematical technique,  formula, or method. It might also involve breaking down a complex problem into  smaller, manageable steps. 

2. Execution 

With a plan in place, students implement their chosen strategy to solve the problem.  This often involves performing mathematical calculations, manipulating equaƟons, or  using logical reasoning. 

3. Evaluation 

Once a solution is found, students should evaluate it to ensure it makes sense in the  context of the problem. They should check their work for errors, assess the  reasonableness of the solution, and consider whether it answers the original  question. 

4. Communication 

Effective problem solving in mathematics often requires clear and concise  communication of the solution. This may involve writing out the steps taken to arrive  at the answer, providing explanations, and using appropriate mathematical language.

5. Reflection and Generalisation 

Problem solving isn’t just about finding a single solution; it’s also about  understanding the underlying principles. After solving a problem, students should  reflect on the process and generalise their understanding to apply similar strategies  to other problems.  

6. Practise and Persistence  

Problem solving is a skill that improves with practise. Students should work on a  variety of mathematical problems regularly to develop their problem-solving skills.  They should also be encouraged to persevere through challenges and setbacks.  

7. Collaboration 

Sometimes, problem solving in mathematics can be a collaborative effort. Students  can benefit from discussing problems with peers, as it can lead to different  perspectives and approaches. 

8. Real-World Application 

Problem-solving skills in mathematics have real-world applications beyond the  classroom. Students should be encouraged to see how mathematical concepts can be  used to solve problems in various fields, such as science, engineering, finance, and  more.  

9. Creativity and Critical Thinking 

Problem solving often requires creative thinking and critical analysis. Encourage  students to explore multiple approaches to problems, think outside the box, and  question assumptions. 

Read: Understanding Inferential Comprehension

Overall, problem solving in school mathematics is not just about finding answers but about  developing a mindset and skill set that can be applied to various mathematical and real world challenges.

Effective problem solvers in mathematics are not necessarily those who  always get the right answer on the first try, but those who are persistent, adaptable, and  willing to learn from their mistakes. 

Feel free to call Mark at NumberWorks’nWords Indooroopilly for a free, no-obligation  assessment for your child. Better school results are just a phone call away.

Published 10-October-2023