Understanding math means that students will be able to understand a story problem and then be able to solve it using problem solving skills.
Understanding story problems can be difficult for some kids since it requires a multi step approach to the problem.
You’re required to process several bits of information before you can even start working our your problem. And if the student doesn’t understand how to analyze the problem, they won’t be able to solve it correctly.
You can help strengthen your students knowledge of mathematical problem solving with these fun tips.
1.Use the Scaffold Method
Understanding how to solve math problems uses a lot of different steps like identifying the question, the key information, getting rid of the useless information and so on.
As a teacher, being able to focus on each of these steps will help your students learn how to do them better. Teach each step individually and teach the next step once the previous one has been mastered.
By teaching this way, it will help you as the teacher to identify any problems that are present and to be able to deal with them.
To understand more about scaffolding ,read our article on teaching early years and teaching approaches.
2.Use Multi-Sensory Activities
You can even bring in toys to be a classroom mascot as well. Or you can use a puppet as a fun helper. While teaching math, you can ask the puppet or stuffed animal questions to help the students pay attention and have more fun.
To make it like a game, you can pass around the toy to the children to take a turn at problem solving with a buddy.
3.Use Fun Prompts
Kids are going to understand math a lot more if they can learn problem solving skills. But this is a skill that needs to be taught in depth with kids and the sooner, the better.
You can read our article on thinking skills and how to develop them in young children so you can have a better understanding of how to help your child.
With each grade of math, the newest year will build off the previous year so it’s very easy to get behind.
By finding fun prompts and discussion questions based on the age group of the children, you can easily help teach them problem solving skills for their own level and understanding.
Make self reflection questions for the students so they can think out the problem before attempting to solve it.
Questions such as, ‘Have I worked on a similar problem before?’, ‘What are various way to work out this problem?’ and so on.
4.Make an Anchor Chart
Writing out the steps to solve a problem and keeping it handy for the kids will be a big help. You can post this in your classroom/house or even give each child a copy too.
This way for each problem, they can go down the list of steps in order to make sure they are doing their problems correctly.
Some kids however will still need some extra help. If you notice your child is needing help in math, looking for a math tutor in your area can be done easily online.
Hi. I am Monica, an experienced ESL teacher and early years student, mother to a preschooler and passionate reader.