Your kid has been brought up on a dose of fractions and formulae, equilateral triangles and equations and yet, come a math problem, he is wailing for help. Being well up on the math basics will definitely help your kid to solve a maths problem or two, but you need to teach him a few time-honored strategies too to help him tweak his way around a particularly tricky customer.
Problem solving strategies stress on going slow. There are kids who will jump on to a maths problem, go half the way only to realize that they chose a wrong course of action. Their problem isn’t that they don’t know their maths. Their problem was that they got their strategies all topsy-turvy. They didn’t read the problem thoroughly and in all probability missed out on a few clues or just didn’t grasp the crux of the matter.
Tips on maths solving also require you to mark out the clue words in the problem so that before you start with the problem you have a clear notion of what has been given and what do you need to find out. For instance, when you have been asked to calculate an “area”, you will know that you have a multiplication problem in hand. Or if you are required to find out the “average”, then it’s a problem on division for sure.
When you are convinced that your kid has gone through the sum carefully and understood it, ask him to formulate his own problem solving strategy. Quiz him if the particular problem rings a bell in his mind. If he has solved a sum like this before, he can very well stick to that strategy.
If the problem has brought on the wrinkled brow, then it’s time to think along different lines. Have him jot down all the possible methods, formulae, equations that might solve the problem and let him ponder and tinker with each. Giving your child a guidance in maths doesn’t translate into solving his maths problems for him. Let him take the bull by the horns himself and this will only add to his confidence.
There are things to consider about a maths problem even after you solve it. Many a intelligent kid manage to solve a maths heavyweight only to falter with the units, or worse still, take immense pains and much wizardry to come up with an answer that was not required in the first place. This is why maths solving tips stress on examining the answer too. Just to ensure that it seems plausible enough.
Tutoring programs offer guidance in the various problem solving aspects of maths. They provide handy tips and strategies to find ways and means around math problems so that your kid gets to enjoy the whole process. And once he discovers the fun element in maths, no math problem will be too problematic for him.