There are 4 basic steps to problem-solving process.
|READ :||Read the problem. Try to understand the problem. Have you seen a similar problem before? What facts do you have?|
|PLAN ::||Choose a strategy. How have you solved similar problems before?
What strategy can you use to solve this problem? Think of a model or diagram you can draw to help you understand the problem better.
|DO :||Use the strategy that you have chosen to solve the problem.|
Did you answer the question asked? Is the unit correct? Is your answer logical?
Strategies that you can use to solve the problem:
Apply arithmetic rules to solve a problem. Eg. The order of operations.
Use a Formula
Very often, the solution to a problem involves putting values into a formula.
Draw a Model or Diagram
Models can help to visualize problem situations. Writing an equation is an abstract way of modeling a situation. The model can help you to organize information which could lead to the selection of other problem-solving strategies which would help to solve the problem.
Make a List, Chart or Table
Making a list, chart or table is a good way to organize data. This allows you to discover patterns and relationship among data.
When the final answer is given, you will have to work backwards to arrive at the answer.
Guess and Check
This is helpful for many types of problems. This may take you some time to arrive at the correct answer but with more practice and a good number sense, you will be able to shorten the time you need to get the answer.
Simplify the Problem
By simplifying the problem – rewording the problem, using smaller numbers or using a more familiar problem setting – may lead to a better understanding of the problem. Many problems can also be broken up into different simpler problems.
Some problems may be too complex to be solved in one step so it will be good to break the problem into simpler problems.