Four Step Problem Solving

Four Step Problem Solving-5
With younger children it is worth repeating the problem and then asking them to put the question in their own words.Older children might use a highlighter pen to mark and emphasise the most useful parts of the problem.

With younger children it is worth repeating the problem and then asking them to put the question in their own words.

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This is useful to show others what they have done and it is also helpful in finding errors should the right answer not be found.

At this point many children, especially mathematically able ones, will stop.

If we have some sort of formula, or expression, for any height, then we can substitute into that formula to get the answer for height three, for instance.

So the "any" height formula is a generalisation of the height three case. Then we get34 → 17 → 52 → 26 → 13 → 40 → 20 → 10 → 5 → 16 → 8 → 4 → 2 → 1We certainly got to 1 then. Well we can extend this problem, make another problem that’s a bit like it, by just changing the 3 to 5.

So a problem about three pigs may be changed into one which has any number of pigs. The answer to this problem will contain the answer to the previous three questions.

There we were asked for the number of towers of height one, two and three.

Third, in looking back and thinking a little more about the problem, children are often able to see another way of solving the problem.

This new solution may be a nicer solution than the original and may give more insight into what is really going on.

This exploratory phase will also help them to understand the problem better and may make them aware of some piece of information that they had neglected after the first reading.

Having explored the problem and decided on a plan of attack, the third problem-solving step, solve the problem, can be taken.

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