Teacher Guide to Problem Solving
Solving a math problem is all about having a good strategy. With the right strategy, you cannot only solve any problem, but you can do so quickly.
Regardless of your specific strategy, it is useful to begin by outlining the math problem.
Outlining a math problem has three steps:
1. Write the problem down.
2. Translate words into numbers.
3. Perform the calculation.
Endless Word Problems Series
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Methods for Solving Math Problems
To this end, there is a variety of methods you can use, some of which will be better in some scenarios than others. Through trial and error, you can find the method that works best for you.
1. COMBINE LIKE TERMS
Combining like terms is a necessity. For example, if you were adding up a purchase at a candy store, it would be impossible to total your purchase if you were trying to add dollars and cents without noting their differences. Likewise, grouping together dollars and cents individually before adding them together is easier and faster than try to add everything together at once.
This basic math series workbook contains 30 printable pages of word problems. All word problems are centered on a different unique theme. Basic arithmetic skills are required to solve each problem.
2. GROUP INTO MANAGEABLE PIECES
Similarly, you may find that combining numbers into manageable pieces helps as well. For example, if you were to add together the following: 7+3+2+8+5+5+6+4+9+1 you would get the answer "50". However, you could have come to that conclusion far more quickly had you began by adding the numbers together in groups of two - 7+3, 2+8, 5+5, 6+4, 9+1. Doing so would have yielded you 5 groups of 10, which, through multiplication, you know to equal 50.
Students practice writing good experimental conclusions and explain a conclusion based on provided data. Students also complete experiments when given partial experimental setups.
3. DIVIDE AND CONQUER
Alternatively, you may want to divide and conquer the problem. You would do this by dividing the problem into small pieces. For example, if you were trying to add together 91 and 84, you may find it easiest to "divide" 91 into two parts - 90 and 1. When you do likewise with "84" (80 and 4) you can create an addition problem of 90+80 and 1+4.
4. TAKE IT AWAY
Lastly, consider using the "take away" method. This works by subtracting numbers incrementally. For example, if you were trying to determine the difference between 1,000 and 541, you would begin by subtracting 541 from 550 - the result is 9. Hold that number to the side and subtract 550 from 600 - the result is 50. Finally, subtract 600 from 1,000 - the result is 400. To get your total (the difference between 1,000 and 541) simply add together the totals you had held back - in this case, that would be 9 + 50 + 400, or 459.
Each sheet helps students focus on math concepts and increase higher level thinking skills. Includes a vast array of K-12 math concepts.