Strategies for Solving Mathematical Problems

Work it backwards

Guess and check, trial and error

* Chris and Sue saw some birds and dogs in the park. Chris said, "We saw 18 birds and dogs." Sue said, "Yes, and they had a total of 52 legs." How many birds and dogs did they see?

Use a graphical representation

Draw a picture, diagram, web, outline, graph, table, list, Venn diagram, and dichotomous key

Make or use a model or an equation


Look for a pattern

Organize data to look for a pattern or sequence

Solve a simpler problem


Think of a similar problem


Look for clue words


Make an analogy


Process of elimination or process of identification


Try a completely different approach


Act it out or use objects

Use logical reasoning: matrices, deductive, inductive, truth tables




Use equivalent numbers 3/5, 6/10, 60/100, .6, 60%


Dr. Robert Sweetland's Notes ©