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When I provided the boxes (seen below) for them to fill out, I received no heavy sighs that I was forcing them to show their work.#mathteacherwin Here is where I typically struggle with problem solving strategies: 1) modeling the strategy in my own teaching weeks after I have taught students to use the strategy and 2) enforcing students to do it. This might be why I haven’t been able to stick with a strategy from year to year.
We have found that this kind of poster provides good revision for children. Through these links, children can see that mathematics is not only connected by skills but also by processes.
We now look at each of the following strategies and discuss them in some depth. If they can also check that the guess fits the conditions of the problem, then they have mastered guess and check.
There are a number of common strategies that children of primary age can use to help them solve problems.
We discuss below several that will be of value for problems on this web-site and in books on problem solving.
In some problems though, where there are more variables, it may not be clear at first which way to change the guessing.2 Act It Out We put two strategies together here because they are closely related. In the Farmyard problem, the children might take the role of the animals though it is unlikely that you would have 87 children in your class!
But if there are not enough children you might be able to press gang the odd teddy or two. It is an effective strategy for demonstration purposes in front of the whole class.If you are not careful, they may try to use it all the time.As problems get more difficult, other strategies become more important and more effective.In our experience, children need to be encouraged and helped to use equipment. This may be because it gives them a better representation of the problem in hand.Also, if they’re a little older, they may feel that using equipment is only 'for babies'.This includes children themselves, hence the link between Act it Out and Use Equipment.One of the difficulties with using equipment is keeping track of the solution. The children need to be encouraged to keep track of their working as they manipulate the equipment.Why I don’t like it: It can be a little vague and doesn’t give concrete “what to dos.” Checking that students completed the “understand” step can be hard to see. It doesn’t have a name yet, or an acronym, (so can it even be considered a strategy…?) but I will have the steps on an anchor chart in my room. I have rolled this out to students, and it went decently.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.