Problem Solving is a part of everyday routine of every individual. It is meant to solve, that is why pupils are always given some problems in math that is in relation with the different challenges they are experiencing with their real life outside and inside the school. Inability to solve these problem often cause frustration on the part of the pupils and eventually led to more serious problems rather than finding the solution appropriated for it- that makes it simple to complicated.
In solving problems, specifically word problems are most of the times very tricky on the part of the child specially if they are locked in analysis and reading comprehension. A right plan or method is very much needed to be learned by the pupils for them to solve these mathematical word problems and probably would enhance their mathematical skills and becomes a good problem solver even in real life situations.

The key is an effective plan that will work in any Math problem-solving situations. Here are the 5 suggested ways on how a pupil may become a good problem solver.

1.    Always look for the word clue in a given sentence by careful reading of each words. It tells what is/are the correct operations to be used. You may underline, encircle or even box your word clue.

2.    Understand and familiarize yourself with the keywords such as sum, difference, product, perimeter, area and the like because these key words help you to identify what operation/s you are intended to use. You may also rewrite the problem in a way you will understand it much better. In case of missing information, you may always use “x” or “y” as symbols.

3.    There is information in the word problems that are irrelevant. Try to determine these words because they just added as a trick to the problem, you may underline them or even eliminate these non-essential information. Always equipped your self with the words that will help you to determine if the problem calls for addition, subtraction, multiplication and division.

4.    Math is always an Art. You may use illustrations that may represent for your word problem. It needs artistic ability so your creativity will help you to become a good problem solver. You may draw sketches, drawings and models for you to visualize and solve your problem. Math is also Science. You may use the discovery method to find out the best solution to solve your problem. By doing so, you are expected to commit mistakes, but don’t be afraid, it helps you to discover the correct answer. Use inference and reasoning by guess and check techniques to see if you are in the right track. You may use the backward method in solving a problem.

5.    Check your answer if it is reasonable, if not, you may start all over again, then carefully plan again and start working on it. Finally, evaluate yourself if you are able to answer the problem? Are you sure with it? How do you know you are sure? Is it your final answer?
Truly, solving word problems is a tricky task, nevertheless, a creative and understanding mind will definitely can solve it and arrive to the correct answer- likewise with the pupils daily lives, they should be taught with the proper values oh how to attack their problems so that at the end of the day, they will learn and able to face tomorrows more challenging problems.

By: Christian N. Carizal, T-II Tipo Elementary School

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