Teaching Problem-Solving skills through math

May 19, 2022 | Red Deer

In today’s world, finding HOW to solve a problem is critical, not just knowing WHAT the correct answer of a straight math operations.


Why Problem-Solving skills are important

Your child is excellent in doing straight math operations like multiplication, addition and subtraction? That’s good. But are they able to analyze and solve problems in word problems? Can they solve math problems that require application of those straight operations like reasoning, proportional thinking,  etc.? It’s one thing to know straight math operations, it’s a different skillset that is necessary to apply this knowledge to solve a problem.

Today’s jobs, with technology now doing many calculations for us, require the person behind it who can solve problems, and not just doing the repetitive tasks that can be done by computers. Teaching them problem solving skills since early is preparing them for real life, both their professional and personal life.


How to introduce Problem Solving skills to young learners

Problem Solving skills are not only used in lengthy word problems. You can teach your younger child to apply their math knowledge and skills – addition, subtraction, multiplication and division – by first making sense of and solve simple problems. Below are some examples of simple problem-solving questions:

  • How many months in three years? 24 months equal how many years?
  • If you see 12 cat’s legs, how many cats are there? How many legs do 3 chickens have?
  • Three dimes equal how many nickels? Ten nickels equal how many dimes? What is the total value of 1 quarter and 4 dimes?
  • Two consecutive numbers add up to 5. What are the numbers?
  • If three cookies cost 15 cents, how much do 9 cookies cost?


Key points to solve word problems

When solving word problems, it is important to know what the question is asking. There are several strategies that can help your child unlock the meaning of word problems.

  1. Read and understand the problem. Reread several times, if necessary, and look for key words. Keywords will tell you what operation to use.
  2. Plan how to attack the problem. It often helps to draw a picture.
  3. Solve the problem. Write and solve a math sentence.
  4. Validate/check your answer; make sure your answer is reasonable.

Introduce one-step problem solving at the beginning and then move to multi-step problems. The complexity of the problems can start from addition/subtraction, then expanded to multiplication/division, fractions, proportional thinking, and so on.


How Mathnasium Method helps students in problem solving skills

Here is what one parent said in their review about Mathnasium of Red Deer “My daughter was finding high school math very challenging. She found that Mathnasium really helped break down the concepts to make them more manageable. She enjoyed her time and feels a lot more confident in math now.”

Yes, even when teaching them simple math operations, Mathnasium teach for understanding, which will help them in solving more complex problems down the road. We understand that math is about reasoning, and not just about memorization and following a set of procedures. It’s about training the mind to think, not just about to find the correct answer. As expressed in the review above, we teach students to exercise their analytical thinking by breaking down a problem into manageable parts.

Mathnasium’s mission goes beyond helping kids with math; it’s about learning through math and building up students’ lifelong skills of problem solving, processing, and opening their eyes to different ways solutions can be reached.



Mathnasium of Red Deer is your neighbourhood’s math-only learning centre, and we are here to help your child. Our centre director, Riwan, and the whole team, would be happy to meet you! We are conveniently located in the shopping destination area in Red Deer: 5250 22nd St, Unit 30 B – at the Gaetz Avenue Crossing shopping centre, in the same area as Chapters Indigo/Starbucks, Michael Arts, Petland and Ashley, and the phone number is 403-872 MATH (6284). 

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