Problem Solving in the Primary Classroom

Rena Pate


First paragraph: When I was in second grade, the words math and computation were synonymous. Each day, we completed a worksheet of 30-50 computation problems with one story problem at the bottom of the page. We called it the “dreaded story problem.” Even our teacher called it that! On most days her instructions were to just cross it off because it was too hard or complicated for us to do. On occasion our teacher would be in “a mood” and would require us to complete the problem. So, we would do what any second grader would do. Half of us would add the two numbers together and the other half would subtract the two numbers. Of course, half of us would get the problem right and the other half would get it wrong. When I began teaching math, I realized that the only problem solving we were doing were percentages and fractions because half would get it right and 50% would get it wrong! That was 1968. Unfortunately, not a lot has changed since then. The only difference is that we have an exciting name like, “Problem of the Day” for the story problem.


Problem Solving; Primary Grades

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