Are you are having difficulties solving math problems? One alternative
could be the use of an outline to help you plan your approach to solving
the problem. A problem solving outline provides a strategy for solving
even the most difficult problems. Once you have mastered this problem
solving technique, math problems will be breeze to solve.
Let's take a look at a problem solving outline or plan. The first
thing that you need to do is identify all the needed information in
the problem. You can do this by looking for clues:
- Read the problem carefully
- Underline important words that provide clues to solving the problem
(difference, sum, product, perimeter, etc.)
- What important facts are provided (divided equally, 14 of one
type and 12 of another, etc.)
- What do you need to find out (how many will each have, the total
will be, everyone gets a red, yellow, and orange, etc.)
- You may want to turn the specific words into mathematical symbols
(difference is a"-," product is an "x," etc.)
- Identify any information that is no relevant to the problem
Other clues will help you when reading the problem. Addition uses
clues like sum, total, in all, and perimeter. Subtraction uses clue
words like difference, how much more, and exceed. Multiplication uses
clue words like product, total, area, and times. Finally division
uses clue words like share, distribute, quotient, and average.
Once you have done this, develop a strategy or plan how to solve
the problem. This can be accomplished by:
- Drawing a model, table, diagram, Venn diagram, chart, sketches,
- You may need to make a physical model of the problem using math
manipulatives, such as base ten blocks, colored cubes, geometric
shapes, geoboards, etc.
- Look for any patterns in the information to help sort he information
- If necessary, act out the problem with others to help you make
sense of what is being asked
- See if you can make a connect to other subject areas, such as
science, art, music, tech ed, etc.
Another option that you can use in this problem solving outline is
rewrite the problem to help identify key terms, information, and words
that will help you understand what is being asked in the problem.
In addition if you can rewrite it and still have the same meaning,
then you have a better understanding of the problem.
After you have completed your outline for the problem, then
carry out the plan you developed to solve the problem. After you have
solved the problem, carry out the next steps:
- Does the answer make sense with what is being asked in the problem
- If it does not then you guess and check the answer to see if it
makes sense now
- If you are still coming up with an unreasonable number, work the
problem backwards using the answer you calculated
All of these strategies will work when solving math problems using
an outline. This plan of action will help identify everything needed
to solve the problem.
It is recommended that you write this outline on a sheet of paper
that you can follow every time you work on math problem solving. The
goal of using a math outline to solve problems is to provide you with
an organized strategy for solving any type of math problem. It will
also provide you with an outline for solving life's problems. The
more you use this outline the less that you will actually have to
follow the actual written outline. It will just become second nature.