# Problem Solving In Mathematics Let us consider how problem solving is a useful medium for each of these. It has already been pointed out that mathematics is an essential discipline because of its practical role to the individual and society.

Let us consider how problem solving is a useful medium for each of these. It has already been pointed out that mathematics is an essential discipline because of its practical role to the individual and society.

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Math problems often require established procedures and knowing what procedure to apply.

To create procedures, you have to be familiar with the problem situation and be able to collect the appropriate information, identify a strategy or strategies, and use the strategy appropriately. When deciding on methods or procedures to use to solve problems, the first thing you will do is look for clues, which is one of the most important skills in solving problems in mathematics.

Then do the following: Read the problem carefully, and decide on a method to solve the problem.

Once you've finished working the problem, check your work and ensure that your answer makes sense and that you've used the same terms and or units in your answer.

According to Resnick (1987) a problem-solving approach contributes to the practical use of mathematics by helping people to develop the facility to be adaptable when, for instance, technology breaks down. (Eds.) Professional Development for Teachers of Mathematics , pp. An Agenda for Action: Recommendations for School Mathematics of the 1980s, Reston, Virginia: NCTM.

It can thus also help people to transfer into new work environments at this time when most are likely to be faced with several career changes during a working lifetime (NCTM, 1989). National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) (1989). As the emphasis has shifted from teaching problem solving to teaching via problem solving (Lester, Masingila, Mau, Lambdin, dos Santon and Raymond, 1994), many writers have attempted to clarify what is meant by a problem-solving approach to teaching mathematics. The focus is on teaching mathematical topics through problem-solving contexts and enquiry-oriented environments which are characterised by the teacher 'helping students construct a deep understanding of mathematical ideas and processes by engaging them in doing mathematics: creating, conjecturing, exploring, testing, and verifying' (Lester et al., 1994, p.154). There are a couple of things you need to do when solving problems.Ask yourself exactly what type of information is being asked for: Is it one of addition, subtraction, multiplication, or division?Specific characteristics of a problem-solving approach include: My early problem-solving courses focused on problems amenable to solutions by Polya-type heuristics: draw a diagram, examine special cases or analogies, specialize, generalize, and so on. Over the years the courses evolved to the point where they focused less on heuristics per se and more on introducing students to fundamental ideas: the importance of mathematical reasoning and proof..., for example, and of sustained mathematical investigations (where my problems served as starting points for serious explorations, rather than tasks to be completed). If you begin to solve problems by looking for clue words, you will find that these words often indicate an operation. The first thing to do when you encounter a math problem is to look for clue words.This is one of the most important skills you can develop.Through a problem-solving approach, this aspect of mathematics can be developed. Presenting a problem and developing the skills needed to solve that problem is more motivational than teaching the skills without a context.

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