Likewise, students themselves get frustrated as their confidence erodes.
I've proctored standardized tests and witnessed students clicking the "skip" button or typing the letters "idk" (short for I don’t know) as soon as they were presented with a multistep word problem.
Then we moved onto solving systems using the Substitution Method.
In our last lesson we used the Linear Combinations or Addition Method to solve systems of equations.
In the classroom, too, I recall spending weeks isolating a single mathematical topic and approaching it from every possible angle, only to present a question in word-problem form and have students respond with blank stares as the crickets chirped in the back row. " These kinds of basics might be worth refreshing before diving into other tips and tricks.
The class just could not seem to piece together the necessary steps to think on their feet. Each problem is unique and teachers cannot provide a single, overarching algorithm to solve them all.
As students are gradually exposed to open-ended word problems requiring multiple processes, teachers should provide worked-out examples for students to study. Students must learn to translate words into a series of steps toward a solution by applying informational cues, identifying variables, recognizing the unknowns in expressions, and explaining their reasoning.
Some may even contain intentional mistakes for students to find and resolve. One way to do this is by thinking about how the word problems might connect to problems in their daily lives.
In a certain family, there are seven sisters and each sister has one brother. Or, how much do you have if you divide 30 by one half?
Problem-solving is not only one of the most important components of the study of mathematics; it permeates all aspects of life, including the professional world.