*However, sometimes when children are completely stuck, guessing and checking will provide a useful way to start and explore a problem.Hopefully that exploration will lead to a more efficient strategy and then to a solution.*

In word problems, there are so many words that need decoding, extra information, and opportunities for students to solve for something that the question is not asking for. Why I don’t like it: Though I love the opportunity for students to write in math, writing a strategy statement for every problem can eat up a lot of time. Students having to defend the reasonableness of their answer is essential for students’ number sense.

S stands for circle the important numbers, underline the question, box the words that are keywords, eliminate extra information, and solve by showing work. S stands for read the problem, underline the question, name the problem type, and write a strategy sentence.

Strategies are things that Pólya would have us choose in his second stage of problem solving and use in his third stage (What is Problem Solving? So they are some sort of general ideas that might work for a number of problems. As speaking in riddles isn’t likely to be of much assistance to you, let’s get down to some examples.

To Pólya they were things to try that he couldn’t guarantee would solve the problem but, of course, he sincerely hoped they would.

In this site we have linked the problem solving lessons to the following groupings of problem solving strategies.

As the site develops we may add some more but we have tried to keep things simple for now.

Since there are problems where using equipment is a better strategy than drawing, you should encourage children’s use of equipment by modelling its use yourself from time to time.3 Draw It is fairly clear that a picture has to be used in the strategy Draw a Picture. It should only contain enough detail to solve the problem.

Hence a rough circle with two marks is quite sufficient for chickens and a blob plus four marks will do for pigs.

The school year is off to a roaring start, and this is the year that I figure out how to teach problem solving strategies (and continue making students show their problem solving strategies). Why I like it: It gives students a very specific “what to do.” Why I don’t like it: With all of the annotating of the problem, I’m not sure that students are actually reading the problem. Why I like it: Students are forced to think about what type of problem it is (factoring, division, etc) and then come up with a plan to solve it using a strategy sentence. Check stands for understand, plan, solve, and check.

Problem solving strategies are pivotal to word problems. None of the steps emphasize reading the problem but maybe that is a given. This is a great strategy to teach when you are tackling various types of problems. Why I like it: I love that there is a check step in this strategy.

## Comments Solving Word Problems Strategies

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