Subject: problem solving
Date: Wed, 14 Oct 1998 19:12:31 -0400

Can you give me a comprehensive list of problem solving stategies. I teach grade one in a K to 8 school and we are working on improving problem solving at all grade levels. I have heard that there is a list of various strategies that we could adapt to different grade levels. Any help you give me would be appreciated.
Thank you. Pamela

P.S. I am writing from Ancaster,Ontario { just outside of Hamilton}

Hi Pam,

I have two replies to your question.

The first is from Walter Whiteley from York University.
   The 'standard' reference seems to be Polya: How to Solve It.

That book includes some summary tables of techniques. It also has soem nice examples and illustrations by a master problem solver - though the examples tend to be at the High School level.

At a broader level, for TEACHERS of elementary school, the book Thinking Mathematically by John Mason, Leone Burton and Kaye Stacey is used for our math course for pre-service teachers and contains a set of methods, chapter by chapter.

Finally, one of the essential features of mathematics is THERE IS NO SINGLE LIST. One must constantly experiment, judge, try new things etc. If this is not true, then the contents of your course are too narrow, too routine!

The second is from Diane Hanson, an elementary teacher in Regina.
   There are the problem solving strategies which appear in the Saskatchewan Education curriculum guides (K-5 and 6-9). The curriculum is all online at Problem solving strategies for the K-5 level are at For the 6-9 level you need to look at each level individually. The middle level overview is at
I hope that these help,
The Centralizer

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