# Problem Solving in Guided Math Groups: Part 4

Polya’s Problem Solving Method

This is part of a series of problem solving discussions.

Polya states that Step 2 is to Devise a Plan. I find this to be the most tricky part for students. What kind of plan? Where do I start? How do I know what to use? Well there is the usual list:

*Guess and check *

*Solve a simpler problem*

*Make an organized list*

* Experiment*

*Draw a picture or diagram *

*Act it out*

*Look for a pattern *

*Work backwards*

*Make a table *

*Use deduction*

*Use a variable *

*Change your point of view*

** **

**We must practice out all these various types of problems with our students if we ever want them to get proficient in using these strategies. Here are some websites and articles that have great practice problems and examples:**

** **

** ****http://www.mathstories.com/strategies.htm**

** ****http://mathlearnnc.sharpschool.com/cms/One.aspx?portalId=4507283&pageId=5856325**

** ****http://mathlearnnc.sharpschool.com/cms/One.aspx?portalId=4507283&pageId=5856332**

** **

** ****(Look at this interactive model making site (be sure to watch the tutorial it explains everything): http://www.thinkingblocks.com/Model_It.html)**

**http://nrich.maths.org/public/**

**http://www.figurethis.org/index.html**

**http://math.about.com/od/wordproblem1/Worksheets_for_Word_Problems_Various_grades.htm**

**http://www.asdk12.org/depts/step/disability/documents/****Article5.pdf**

**http://www.k8accesscenter.org/training****resources/mathprimaryproblemsolving.asp**

**http://www.austintown.k12.oh.us/~aust_tr/PSS%20Teaching%20Problem%20Solving%20Strategies.pdf**

** ****http://www.cldinternational.org/PDF/Initiatives/MathSeries/kelly.pdf**

** ****http://cft.vanderbilt.edu/teaching-guides/teaching-activities/problem-solving/**

** ****http://www.cirtl.net/DiversityResources/resources/resource-book/teachingstudentstosolveproblems.htm**

** L****et’s Play Math (a great blog) has a great post about problem solving articles:**

** ****http://letsplaymath.net/2010/05/24/best-articles-about-solving-word-problems/**

** **

Greetings Dr. Nicki,

These strategy plans are the exact posters which are highlighted each month throughout the school. The students are encouraged to use this whenever they solve a problem. They definitely provide a guide about where to start. I can’t tell you how valuable this series of posts have been, especially in the beginning of the year.

Lisa PietrosimoneSeptember 15, 2010