Problem-solving is the foundation of Primary Mathematics. Adopting Polya’s Problem solving approach will help pupils to scaffold and develop the process of problem-solving.
1. Understand the Problem (Understand)
- Read to understand the problem.
- If at first reading you are not clear, read again.
- Still if there is a problem, read chunk by chunk.
- Explain the question in another way.
- Use visualisation tool – model, timeline, diagrams, table etc.
2. Devise a Plan (Plan)
- Have I seen a similar or related question before?
- Do I have a ready plan?
- Do I have all the data? What data is missing?
- Can I find the missing data?
- Can I use a smaller number to try first?
- Use a heuristics?
3. Carry out the Plan (Do)
- Are all my steps accurate?
- Are there traps I need to be alert of?
- Have I used all the data given?
- Do my steps make sense?
4. Review and discuss the solution (Check)
- Does the answer make sense?
- Did I answer the question?
- Could this problem be solved in a simpler way?