Across all year levels students explore a variety of strategies they can use when approaching any new maths problem.
We refer to this as the Mathematician’s Strategy Toolbox. These problem solving strategies include:
- Do I know a similar problem?
- Guess, check and improve (link)
- Try a simpler problem
- Write an equation
- Make a list or table
- Work backwards
- Act it out
- Draw a picture or graph
- Make a model
- Look for a pattern (link)
- Try all possibilities (eliminate possibilities) (link)
- Seek an exception
- Break the problem into smaller parts
- and ……………………….
If one way doesn’t work I just start again another way.
For more tips on Working Mathematically: The Process go to the Maths 300 webpage.
When reading and responding to a word based maths problem:
- make a prediction
- list and work through the things you need to clarify such as words , phrases or concepts (include relevant facts and details)
- identify the BIG question (What is the key problem I’m being asked to solve?)
- decide how they are going to go about solving the problem (include the strategy/ies from the Mathematician’s Toolbox)
- summarise the process you just went through, remembering to word it to include the initial question with the answer
identify the BIG question (What is the key problem I’m being asked to solve?)