Your mathematician’s strategy toolbox includes:

  • Do I know a similar problem?j0395714.gif
  • Guess, check and improve
  • Try a simpler problem
  • Write an equation
  • Make a list or table
  • Work backwards
  • Act it out
  • Draw a picture or graph
  • Make a model
  • Look for a pattern
  • Try all possibilities
  • Seek an exception
  • Break the problem into smaller parts
  • and ……………………….

If one way doesn’t work I just start again another way.


How to read and respond to a word based maths problem:

When mathematicians have a problem they:

  • Read & understand the problem.
  • Plan a strategy to start the problem.
  • Carry out their plan.
  • Check the result.

The steps we follow are:

  • make your prediction
  • list and work through the things you need to clarify such as words , phrases or concepts
  • identify the the BIG question
  • decide how you are going to go about solving the problem (include the strategy/ies from the Mathematician’s Toolbox you use
  • summarise the process you just went through, remember to word it so you include the initial question with your answer