Many problem solving skills and strategies do not come naturally to children – and so they have to be taught.
Indeed, it is not enough for children to be able to count, recognize numbers and calculate. Children need to be able to use problem solving skills alongside maths knowledge to help them to succeed in a variety of ‘real life’ situations.
What’s more, Ofsted have stressed the importance of problem solving, and it featured in their report* published in November 2011. They advise that pupils’ confidence, fluency and versatility are nurtured through a strong emphasis on problem solving as an integral part of learning within each topic.
Skills in calculation are strengthened through solving a wide range of problems, exploiting links with work on measures and data handling, and meaningful application to cross-curricular themes and work in other subjects.
It is with this in mind that we have developed our Maths Problem Solving series for Year 1 through to Year 6.
Each resource book specially covers the ‘solving problems’ objectives from the numeracy framework and contains clear photocopiable resources which can be viewed by the whole class or used by individuals. The length of the problems are varied with short, medium and more extended problems for children to solve.
The problems on each page are mixed so the children do not assume that the solution process is the same each time, but have to understand the problem. They are varied in their complexity and are presented in a meaningful, age-appropriate manner with topics the children will find relevant. Each chapter contains six lessons, one for each half term. There are three differentiated worksheets in each chapter, making it easy to use the book in a mixed-ability classroom.
* Good practice in primary mathematics: evidence from 20 successful schools.