- What are my key words?
- Do I need a diagram? List? Table?
- Is there a formula or equation that I'll need? Which one?
- Will I use a calculator? Is there a pattern I can use and or follow?
Read the problem carefully, decide on a method to solve the problem, solve the problem. Then, check your work and make sure that your answer makes sense and that you've used the same terms and or units in your answer.
Learning how to solve problems in mathematics is knowing what to look for. Math problems often require established procedures and knowing what procedure to apply. To create procedures, you have to be familiar with the problem situation and be able to collect the appropriate information, identify a strategy or strategies and use the strategy appropriately. Problem solving requires practice! When deciding on methods or procedures to use to solve problems, the first thing you will do is look for clues which is one of the most important skills in solving problems in mathematics. If you begin to solve problems by looking for clue words, you will find that these 'words' often indicate an operation. Is it helpful to highlight or underline key words when you are asked to solve word problems.
Clue Words for Addition:
Clue Words for Subtraction:
Clue Words for Multiplication
Clue Words for Division