10 Strategies for Problem Solving in Math - Learn How to Apply Them

10 Strategies for Problem Solving in Math

Kids often get stuck when it comes to problem solving. They become confused when you offer them word problems or include an unknown variable like x in their math question. In such cases, teachers have to guide kids through this problem-solving maze, which is why this article covers the strategies for problem solving in math and the ways your students can leverage them.

What Are Problem Solving Strategies in Math?

To solve an issue, one must have a reliable strategy. Strategies for problem solving in math refer to methods of approaching math questions to ensure accurate results and increased efficiency. Such strategies simplify math for kids with no experience in problem solving and those already familiar with it.

There are various ways to implement problem solving strategies in math, and each method is different. While none is foolproof, they can improve your student’s problem-solving skills, especially with exercises and examples. The keyword here is practice — the more problems students solve, the more strategies and methods they pick up.

Strategies for Problem Solving in Math

Even if a student is not a math whiz, appropriate strategies for problem-solving in math can help them find solutions. Students may solve math issues in many ways, but here are ten math strategies for problem solving with high success rates. Depending on usage and preference, the strategies give kids renewed confidence as they work through difficulties.

Understand the Problem

Before solving a math problem, kids need to know and understand their nature. They should identify if the question is a fraction problem, a word problem, a quadratic equation, etc. An excellent way to boost their understanding is to look for keywords in the problem, revisit other similar questions, or check online. This step keeps the student on track.

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Guess and Check

The guess and check approach is one of the time-intensive strategies for problem solving in math. Students are to keep guessing until they find the proper answer.

After assuming a solution,  kids need to put it back into the math problem to determine its accuracy. The procedure may seem laborious, but it often uncovers patterns in a child’s thought process.

Work It Out

When kids are working on a math problem, please encourage them to write down every step. This strategy is a self-monitoring method for math students since it demands that they first understand the problem. If they immediately start solving the problem, they risk making mistakes.

Using this strategy, students will keep track of their ideas and correct mistakes before arriving at a final answer. Even after working out their math problems in the supplementary sheet, a child may still ask you to explain the processes. This confirmation stage etches the steps they took to solve the problem in their minds.

Work Backwards

There are times when math problems may be best solved by looking at them differently. Kids need to understand that recreating math problems will be handy for project management and engineering careers.

Using the “Work Backwards” strategy, students anticipate challenges in real-world situations and prepare for them. They can start with the final result and reverse engineer it to arrive at the initial problem.

Visualize

A math problem that may seem confusing to kids can generally become simpler once you represent it visually. Having kids visualize and act out the math problem are some of the most effective math strategies for problem solving.

Drawing a picture or making tally marks on a sheet of working-out paper is a visualization option. You could also model the process on the whiteboard and give students a marker to doodle before writing down the solution.

Find a Pattern

Pattern recognition strategies help kids understand math fundamentals and remember formulas. The best way to uncover patterns in a math problem is to teach pupils to extract and list relevant details. They can use the strategy when learning shapes and repetitive concepts, which makes the approach one of the most effective elementary math strategies for problem solving.

Using this method, students will recognize similar information and find the missing details. Over time, this approach will help students solve math problems faster.

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Think

One of the best problem solving strategies for math word problems is asking oneself, “what are some possible solutions to this issue?” It helps you consider the question more carefully, think outside the box, and avoid tunnel vision when facing challenges. So, encourage kids to muse over math problems and not settle for the first answer that enters their minds.

Draw a Picture or Diagram

Like visualization, creation of a diagram of a math problem will help kids figure out the best ways to approach it. Use shapes or numbers to represent the forms to keep things basic. Depending on the situation, patterns and graphs may also be valuable, and you can encourage kids to use dots or letters to represent the items.

Diagrams are even beneficial in many non-geometrical situations. After studying, students can create sketches of the concepts they read about for later revision. The approach will help kids determine what kind of math problem they are dealing with and the steps needed whenever they encounter a similar idea.

Trial and error method

Trial and error approach may be one of the most common strategies for solving math problems. However, the efficiency of this strategy depends on its application. If students blindly try solving math questions without specific formulas or directions, the chances of success will be low.

On the other hand, if they start by making a list of possible solutions based on preset guidelines and then attempting each one, they increase their odds of finding the correct answer. So, don’t be quick to discourage kids from using the trial and error strategy.

Review answers with peers

Strategies for problem solving in math that involve reviewing solutions with peers are enjoyable. If students come up with different answers to the same question, encourage them to share their thought processes with the rest of the class.

You could also have a session with the class to compare children’s working techniques. This way, students can discover loopholes in their ideas and make the necessary adjustments.

Check out the Printable Math Worksheets for Your Kids!

Conclusion

Many strategies for problem solving in math influence students’ speed and efficiency in tests. That is why they need to learn the most reliable approaches. By following the problem solving strategies for math listed in this article, students will have better experiences dealing with math problems.

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Kid’s grade

  • Pre-Kindergarten
  • Kindergarten
  • Grade 1
  • Grade 2
  • Grade 3
  • Grade 4
  • Grade 5
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