This may be because it gives them a better representation of the problem in hand.

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Would it be useful to try some suitable numbers first? One example of this type is Fertiliser Measurement, level 4. We know that there are 87 animals and so the number of pigs plus the number of chickens must add up to Being systematic may mean making a table or an organised list but it can also mean keeping your working in some order so that it is easy to follow when you have to go back over it.

As a last resort, read the solution, but not until you have spent a long time just thinking about the problem, making notes, trying things out and looking at resources that can help you.

Finally working backwards is a standard strategy that only seems to have restricted use. What do I need to find out? Through these links, children can see that mathematics is not only connected by skills but also by processes. In the work we have done over the last few years, it seems that children are able to tackle and use more strategies as they continue with problem solving. If you do end up reading the solution, then come back to the same problem a few days or weeks later problem solving guess and check activities have another go at it.


Problem solving guess and check activities children especially, enjoy using Act it Out. Could I move on to something else and come back to this later? Problem solving is very close to mathematical research. From the table we can see that every time we change the number of pigs by one, we change the number of legs by two.

The children need to be encouraged to keep track of their working as they manipulate the equipment. It helps children to bring a logical and systematic development to their mathematics if they begin to organise things systematically as they go. Can I solvinf the problem into my own words? Now 60 problem solving guess and check activities imply 27 chickens, and that gives another 54 legs.

Now 60 pigs would have legs. All research mathematicians use guess and check. Finally, don’t forget that STEP questions are designed to take at least minutes hceck solve, and to start with they will take you longer than that.

Math Games

In the farmyard there are some pigs and some chickens. Devising a plan Solvint out the first few steps before leaping in! What exactly am I being asked to do? As problems get more difficult, other strategies become more important and more effective.


Making a Table illustrates this point. As pigs have more legs than hens, we need to reduce the guess of 60 pigs. This is a strategy that would certainly work on the Farmyard problem but it could take a lot of time and a lot of computation.

Register for our mailing list. The on-looking children may be more interested in acting it out because other children are involved.

There are a number of common strategies that children of primary age can use to help them solve problems.

In relatively straightforward problems like that, it is often fairly easy to see how to improve the last guess. Problem solving guess and check activities watch children use these strategies and see if this is indeed the case. But 60 pigs plus 8 chickens is only 68 animals so we have landed nearly 20 andd short.