Q&A #242

Teachers' Lounge Discussion: Problem-solving

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From: Hal Schneider

To: Teacher2Teacher Public Discussion
Date: 2002020316:32:30
Subject: Problem Solving takes a lot for than generalizations

Although general techniques are useful, one must go back to fundamentals. Many will agree that students who otherwise do quite in math (as well as reading comprehension)stumble dramatically in solving word problems. Looking at working papers, one can see disorganization especially with preliminary arithmetic computations. Suppose we set a rule: DEVELOP THE EQUATION ! ABSOLUTELY NO ARITHMETIC BEFORE THIS IS ACHIEVED. Teach the arithmetic meaning of key, non-math words (and examples of their use). For example, how many non-math words or phrases (used in word problems) mean 'divided by'. Is there one-letter word in this group ? Yes ! Is the following true or false ? Why ? 10 dimes/10 dimes = 1 dime What about common format of equations used in different types of word problems? e.g. mixtures, age, work, distance, etc. What is the first task of the student ? Determine the name of the answer ! (e.g. = ? $ ) You may wish to visit my website for more of the above including a free test (with answer and solutions) of critically important, real-life word problems ! Happy reading URL: http://home.earthlink.net/~mathaid/mathbook.htm

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