Problem Solving Strategies Worksheet

The steps include defining the problem, generating solutions, choosing one solution, implementing the solution, and reviewing the process.

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A plumber has to connect a pipe from a storage tank at the corner, S, of the roof to a tap at the diagonally opposite corner, T, in the figure below.

Find the number of paths for the pipe if the pipe can only run along the edges of walls A, B, or roof C.

No matter what group I’m teaching, and no matter what topic I’m teaching the following scenario is inevitable: I explain a task with multiple modes of instruction; I model it; we practice a few problems together; students ask questions as needed; there is an anchor chart or reference somewhere in the room, and the second students start working someone raises their hand and tells me, “I don’t know what to do”. I always teach my students that the first five minutes of math workshop they must have “struggle time” before I will help them.

I know that initially that sounds harsh, but it’s a great way to foster independence and problem solving.

Occasionally, I’d rather use task cards than a traditional worksheet, so I also made a task card version of the problem solving worksheets. Once students are more comfortable with the problem solving strategies, I will give them problems where they have to determine which strategy to use to best solve the problem.

I’ve found that this is a good scaffolding step for students.

Three stamps are to be torn from a sheet of nine stamps as shown below.

The three stamps must be intact so that each stamp is joined to another stamp along at least one edge. You can use the free Mathway calculator and problem solver below to practice Algebra or other math topics.

I’ve found that too many students begin to expect or rely on me telling them exactly what to do, rather than experimenting and applying strategies.

Of course, I do teach students what to do if they get stuck, and we talk a lot about having a growth mindset.


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