Easy Tips for Learning and Solving Math Problems

6/6/2014

Oftentimes, students who want to know how to learn math are looking for a quick trick that will make them an instant expert in the subject. Unfortunately, there is no such trick. But, there are some tips that can help a student along as he or she is learning math. Here are a few useful tips and suggestions to consider.


Follow the Steps When Solving Math Problems

Practically every type of math equation requires a student to go through a series of steps to get to the solution. Some math equations require more steps than others. For instance, someone who is learning long division knows that one number must be divided into another, and then there is a step that requires multiplication. Subtraction is also one of the steps of long division. Sometimes a student who is impatient and wants to learn math fast will try to skip some of the steps of a math equation. This usually results in the wrong answer. In order to get the right answer, it's important to follow through with each step of the equation until the entire process is complete. A student who is new to any type of math must realize that if one step of an equation is wrong, it will affect the final answer. 


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Show Your Work

'Show your work' is a statement made by math teachers every day throughout the world. It is important for all math students to show their work. A new student may think that writing out all of the steps of an equation is a waste of time or maybe even a nuisance. However, a student can go back and review the steps to see why an answer is incorrect. If a student doesn't show his or her work, the individual has to go back and repeat the same steps to figure out where the mistake was made. Someone learning how to do math problems of any kind should want to learn from all of his or her mistakes. Also, showing the steps of an equation allows a student to see what he or she did to arrive at the correct solution.

Learn Math Vocabulary

Another tip that can help a student with math problem solving is learning math-related vocabulary. Some types of math have their own separate collection of vocabulary. This is especially helpful if a student is working on story problems. For instance, the word 'sum' has a connection with addition problems. The word 'product' relates to multiplication problems. Sometimes a word can present a clue to a student as to how to solve a story problem. Learning math vocabulary can help with other types of math such as geometry, algebra and calculus. The more a student knows about math vocabulary the more tools he or she has to use in finding the correct solution to an equation.

Use Quick Check Techniques

A quick check technique is a simple exercise that helps a math student to see if he or she has the right answer. If someone is completing a page of subtraction problems, he or she can check them by adding the numbers together from the bottom up. An easy example would be nine minus eight. The answer is one. If the person wanted to check this equation, he or she would take the one and add it to the eight. The answer would be nine. This means that one is the correct answer to the equation of nine minus eight. The student is simply reversing the equation. This technique can prove helpful on math quizzes as well as tests.

Start with a Simple Equation

A student who reads any set of math lesson plans will notice that math depends on accumulative knowledge. In short, a student who is just beginning to learn division, multiplication or another type of math shouldn't skip to the most complicated equations. A student must start with the simplest equations and build on that knowledge to achieve success with the more difficult equations. A student uses the knowledge and experience gained with easier equations to solve the more difficult ones. A student who tries to do difficult problems first will likely end up getting frustrated and discouraged. 


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When Making Math Lesson Plans Include Some Games

Solving math problems can be exciting if this is done in the form of a game. In fact, a student who is learning a new type of math is more likely to maintain interest if there are games involved. For instance, some math teachers like to play a game of 'Around the World' with their students. The teacher asks two students to stand together and he or she holds up a flashcard. The student who is the first to offer an answer to the equation on the flashcard gets to move around the room to stand next to another student. The process is repeated. If a student misses the answer, he or she gets to sit down and the other student moves on around the room. A student who is an expert at solving the equations on the flashcards may even get all the way around the 'world' or, in this case, the classroom. Teachers can use flashcards that feature addition, subtraction, multiplication or division problems. Games help students learn to solve problems both quickly and accurately.


The Right Motivation

It's a good idea for a student who is learning math to find a way to stay motivated. For instance, a student may decide to go and see his favorite movie if he gets all of his algebra homework completed without a mistake. Another student may decide to get an ice cream cone if she gets all of her long division problems done correctly. When it comes to learning math, or any other subject, motivation plays an important part in the process.

Practice with a Friend

Finally, learning a new type of math is more fun if two students learn it together. Two students in a geometry class can quiz each other on the various formulas to help them retain the information. Or, two young students can create addition and subtraction quizzes for one another. They can set a timer to see who finishes first. Of course, the winner must also have all of the correct answers. Friends can create flashcards, math bingo and other games that help them to learn together. Learning a new type of math doesn't have to be a chore. It can become an activity that two friends enjoy with one another.


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