# Problem Solving Strategies February 25 2014, 4 Comments

Would you draw a picture, make a list possible number pairs that have the ratio 5:3, or guess and check?

Students, especially those with learning disabilities, struggle to solve math word problems. They often demonstrate difficulty when choosing an appropriate strategy, or plan of attack. Explicit strategy instruction should be an integral part of your math classroom, whether you're teaching kindergarten or 12th grade. Teach students that they can choose from a list of strategies to solve a problem, and often there isn't one correct way of finding a solution. Demonstrate how you solve a word problem by thinking aloud as you choose and execute a strategy. Ask students if they would solve the problem differently and praise students for coming up with unique ways of arriving at an answer.### Here are some problem solving strategies I've taught my students:

**Draw a picture:**Will a drawing help me understand and solve the problem?

**Guess and check:**Plug in numbers. Does the answer make sense? If not, change your numbers and try again.

**Make a list**

**Make a table**

**Act it out:**Grab a friend and reenact the word problem.

**Work backwards:**Begin with the last piece of information and work backwards.

**Write a number sentence:**Is there an equation that I can use the solve the problem? Do I need to add, subtract, multiply, or divide?

**Use objects:**Are there manipulatives in the classroom I can use, such as counters or base-10 blocks?

Below is a helpful chart to remind students of the many problem solving strategies they can use when solving word problems. This useful handout is a great addition to students' strategy binders, math notebooks, or math journals.** **

## Comments

Christine Shaveron April 16 2016 at 09:39AMYour resources look great!

Jo Collinson August 12 2015 at 01:05PMWhere can I get one of the posters, problem solving strategies?

Luminous Learningon September 25 2014 at 03:29PMHi Cathy!

Thanks for signing up for our newsletter! We send our free downloads in our monthly newsletter, which goes out at the beginning of each month. They can’t be directly downloaded from our site, but look out for the next newsletter for more great freebies!

cathy jarmanon August 16 2014 at 11:55PMI have subscribed to the monthly newsletter, but still can’t figure out how to download stuff off your site. I don’t see a sign in anywhere and when I click on an item to put it in the cart or to download a freebee nothing happens.