A Five-Step Approach to Solving Math Problems

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A five-step approach to solving math problems is a great way to tackle any problem you come across. Learn about a five-step approach to solving math problems with help from an experienced mathematics educator in this free video clip.

Part of the Video Series: Elementary Math
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Hi my name is Marija. I'm a mathematician and today I'm going to give you a five step approach to solving math word problems. So the first step as obvious as it might seem is extremely important and it is to simply read a problem, understand what it is that they want you to solve for. What do they want from you? The second step is to underline important information or highlight. So underline the important information. A lot of times you're given important information and irrelevant information in a problem so decide which stuff you're going to need and which stuff is there, just to distract you. Okay. So underline or highlight the important stuff. The third step is to think about all the things you've learned in your math class and select a strategy, okay. So pick which of the math skills that you've learned, you're going to have to use in order to solve this problem okay. Is it setting up an equation, is it setting up a proportion, is it using percents? What is it? After you've read the problem and underlined the information you're given that you're going to be able to use to solve this problem and once you've selected your strategy, go ahead and use it, use it and solve the problem okay. And solving might seem like it's the last step but it never is in math and math the last step is always, always, always to go ahead and go back and check your work. So especially if your strategy was to set up an equation, you take your solution and you have to go back and substitute that solution in and make sure that it did work for your equation okay. And checking also means making sure that your answer makes sense. Because if you're given a word problem your answer has to make sense okay. You can't get negative numbers if you're asked for an amount of people, you can't get, you know you understand which dollar amount you're supposed to get if something gets too high, too low, go back and check your work and make sure that you've done every step correctly. My name is Marija and I've just gave you a five step strategy to solving math word problems.

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