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Friday, September 14, 2007

Problem Solving Tip: A little drawing can help

My cousin usually runs to me for help when he gets stuck in his Math assignments, especially Algebra. He hates word problems. I LOVE word problems.

One of the reasons we can't solve Math problems is that we basically reject it, that mentioning the word Math closes our mind instantly. I admit that there are some parts in Algebra that I have a hard time learning: everything that deals with money (like annual interest, capital blah blah blah), but I do try.

The first thing I do is listen. We just don't hear the teacher, we listen, so we can understand. Remember that we can't get everything in one session, even me. So I do it one step at a time (a cliché, but it works). In problem solving, the same thing works. Understand the problem one step (or sentence) at a time. Then after you finish reading it, you'll get the general idea.

If you don't, DRAW. Yep, that's the tip. DRAW. My cousin said it worked. I taught him that a lot of times and he finally realized it! Drawing helps you understand the problem better. It lets you ENJOY the problem better. So let's say you have a distance-speed-time problem that involves airplanes. Draw airplanes. Put a dot to represent the place where they started; lines to represent the distance they've traveled; marks on the lines to represent the time they've reached a certain distance, and don't forget the planes! =)

I wish I could give you a real example but I didn't bring with me a sample problem. But you could always message me for help. =) Happy Solving!

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