Math Problem Solving

August 29th, 2009 by dailydb Leave a reply »

Although it is indeed difficult to overcome a math problems or math word problems, there are many remedies that can be used to help students succeed. Before getting to any specific math instruction, however, you should work at overcoming any math anxiety the student may have. This is a real problem. The students who are poor at math have a real fear of it. Reading can cause anxiety in children, but math anxiety seems to take over their entire world, and when doing math, fear is their major emotion.

You should start a math tutoring session with activity using brain integration activities with numbers. If the student is weak in visual memory (and usually these kids are), spend time on visual memory and recall activities. These activities math help or algebra help the brain cross over to the left hemisphere, since math is a left hemisphere activity.

Finally, when doing actual math instruction to get math answers, it is recommended that you do the following activities to solved algebra word problems to ensure for math success:

1. Use blank paper with no lines – this eliminates distractions on the student’s part. Lines and other markings on paper will take the student’s eyes to places other than math, and this is not good.

2. Model the process step by step very slowly in color on the blank paper. Show the student what to do using a different color for every step of the process. When you change steps, you change color. This helps the student “switch gears” while doing the multi-step processes.

3. After showing the student what to do, have the student practice the math problem. Once again, the student will be using color to do the steps, using a different color for each step.

4. Have the student practice several times in color on the blank paper. If the student makes a mistake, simply redirect him and have him keep practicing. Praise any correct steps. You may need to show the student the correct step several times. Be sure you have the student practice immediately after the steps are modeled.

5. Have the student verbalize the steps as he writes them. Telling you the process will help him remember it.

6. Give the student immediate feedback. Don’t wait for the next day to tell him what he did wrong or right.

7. Only work on one small skill at a time. You don’t want to show the student how to do all fractions in one day. Start with adding and subtracting fractions with a like denominator.


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