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Useful Tips

Problem-solving is the foundation of Primary Mathematics. Adopting Polya’s Problem solving approach will help pupils to scaffold and develop the process of problem-solving.

1. Understand the Problem (Understand)
  • Read to understand the problem.
  • If at first reading you are not clear, read again.
  • Still if there is a problem, read chunk by chunk.
  • Explain the question in another way.
  • Use visualisation tool – model, timeline, diagrams, table etc. 

2. Devise a Plan (Plan)
  • Have I seen a similar or related question before?
  • Do I have a ready plan?
  • Do I have all the data? What data is missing?
  • Can I find the missing data?
  • Can I use a smaller number to try first?
  • Use a heuristics?

3. Carry out the Plan (Do)
  • Are all my steps accurate?
  • Are there traps I need to be alert of?
  • Have I used all the data given?
  • Do my steps make sense?

4. Review and discuss the solution (Check)
  • Does the answer make sense?
  • Did I answer the question?
  • Could this problem be solved in a simpler way?