Our Problem Solving Printables are just what you need for students who fear word problems. These math printables leave students confident and unfazed about thinking mathematically!
Solving word problems is a multi-step process which needs a higher order level of thinking.
Students find this multi-step approach more challenging and difficult to do because they are focussed on getting to the ‘right’ answer, quickly! They love recalling facts or following rote procedures with speed.
This approach alone is not enough and the main reason why kids struggle with math word problems.
Problem solving needs a different approach and requires students to accept that a different strategy is need if they are to be successful at problem solving.
Over the years I have found the combined strategies of Dr. Anne Newman & George Polya to yield the best results for students.
Australian educator Dr Anne Newman’s research (1977) into successful problem solving found that students progress through 5 hurdles during problem solving, and when teaching numeracy, teachers need to incorporate these steps into their planning so that for students can become successful problem solvers!
So according to Newman’s 5 steps to solving a word problem research, students must use all 5 steps to solve word problems successfully. The 5 steps became known as Newman’s Prompts and included:
- Read the problem;
- Comprehend what is read;
- Carry out a mental transformation from the words of the question to the selection of an appropriate mathematical strategy;
- Apply the process skills demanded by the selected strategy; ( This is where Polya’s Problem Strategies come in) and
- Encode the answer in an acceptable written form.
As for George Polya’s strategies, well you’ll know them, they are used in every problem solving resource book I have ever used. they include:
They’re fantastic strategies for solving problems and included:
- Guess and check Look for a pattern
- Make an orderly list Draw a picture
- Eliminate possibilities Solve a simpler problem
- Use symmetry Use a model
- Consider special cases Work backwards
- Use direct reasoning Use a formula
- Solve an equation Be ingenious
I find these work brilliantly at STEP 4 of Newman’s Process.
We’ve used this Powerhouse Combination to create our Problem Solving resources. You’ll find a range of templates that can be used with any problem for any age group. Give them a whirl! If you’re looking for word problems they’ll be added separately soon!