Mathematics: Problem Solving

Mathematics: Problem Solving
Wormit School
Problem Solving Policy
Fife Council’s Mathematics Policy underpins Wormit Primary School’s
problem solving policy. We also base our policy on 5-14 guidelines and the
new Curriculum for Excellence advice.
We aim to teach our pupils the range of strategies recommended in all of
the above guidance, in a progressive, motivating and stimulating way.
Problem solving should be an integral part of the curriculum and not
restricted to mathematics. Opportunities for open ended investigations
and cross curricular activities should be taken where appropriate but it is
likely that most time for problem solving will come out of maths time.
Each stage will reinforce strategies taught previously and introduce new
Primary 1-3 (Levels A and B)
 Act out the situation (pretending)
 Draw a picture, diagram or make a model
 Use simple numbers
Primary 4 and 5 (build on previous strategies, Levels B and C)
 Look for a pattern
 Make an organised list or table
 Guess, Check and Improve
Primary 6 and 7 (build on previous strategies, Levels C, D and E)
 Work backwards
 Reason logically
 Trial and Error
Challenging Thinking Material forms the basis for teaching Problem
Solving. Each teacher has a copy of the rationale behind this material
J M Paterson
and guidelines regarding teaching problem solving. There is a pack of
materials for each stage and an overview record sheet to be passed on to
the next teacher. We aim to extend and support pupils so that all can
achieve success and take pleasure in problem solving. Brief notes on the
overview/record sheet should be made about any pupil who has particular
difficulties or needs extension activities.
Challenging Thinking material is supplemented by TENS problem Solving
materials which are also supplied for each stage and by various other
resources such as Think of a Strategy as well as the problem solving
activities inherent to the school’s mathematics scheme. On the All staff
area of the school’s intranet staff will find a problem solving folder which
contains a digital version of the materials and also a list of websites
which can be used to supplement/motivate pupils. Please add to this list
if you can and make comments about the value of sites.
J M Paterson
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