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What is problem solving?

Problem solving is the process of applying knowledge and skills to find a solution to a problem. This can involve problems that you are familiar with or unknown problems (where you have to apply your knowledge and skills to an unknown situation).

Why is this important?

Problem solving is an important skill in Mathematics which sometimes takes a back seat in schools. But if students learn how to apply their skills to solving problems, they can increase their confidence and success.

What's involved?

Following are some of the basic problem solving techniques. If you click on the pictures, you will be taken to a series of problems. The problems are graded from Stage 3 (years 5 and 6) all the way up to Stage 5.3 (years 9 and 10).

 

Find a Pattern

Find a Pattern


Look for a pattern and use it to work out the answer.

A table can be useful for organising the different elements.


Years 5 and 6

Years 7 and 8

The Last Digit

Years 9 and 10

House of Cards
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Draw a Diagram

Draw a Diagram


A picture is worth a thousand words!

Drawing a quick sketch of what is going on can help us organise our thinking.


Years 5 and 6

Track Coach's Dilemma

Years 7 and 8

Sam, the Milkman

Years 9 and 10

Triangular Duel
Slippery Sloth
Car Wash
Two Trains
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Simpler Case

Simpler Case


Trying a simpler case can help us reveal the mathematics that is required to solve a complicated problem.


Years 5 and 6

Years 7 and 8

One and a half chickens?

Years 9 and 10

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Work Backwards

Work Backwards


Sometimes we are given the end of a problem and asked to find the beginning.

We have to work backwards to find the answer.


Years 5 and 6

Tuckshop

Years 7 and 8

Burger Eating Contest

Years 9 and 10

The Water Buckets
Measurement Time
Jellybeans
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