Methods for Solving Problem Sums

There are a number of ways that a parent can teach children about how to solve problem sums.  Based on the learning characteristics of the child, a parent can pick the one that resonates the most with the child’s learning style. In this article, we will look at the different teaching methods and analyse what kind of learning styles is best suited to these methods.

Discovering the best problem sums solving method for your child can be a breakthrough for learning.

Math Model Drawing method

We have highlighted how to use this method in our previous article: techniques for learning the Singapore math model. Basically, a child will draw the problem sum question in block forms so that it can be presented visually.  Through manipulating the blocks, the child will then be able to solve the problem sums.

Suitable for: The math model drawing method is great children who are visual learners. By seeing the question visually, these children are better able to see the logic and the answer to problem sums. This method also appeals to children who like to draw.

Not suitable for: Children with a strong sense of logic will find this method tedious and unnecessary as they can see the solution in their minds. In addition, children who are slow in drawing might also find this method cumbersome.

Mathematical method

This method relies on memorising the ‘rules’ of problem sums and applying them to solve the questions. It is fairly abstract but can be used to good effect if the child can memorise all the different rules and applications.

Suitable for: Children who have weak logical reasoning but have a good memory. It is similar to how one learns languages. There is no logic to language as it is merely a system of rules to govern our communication patterns. However, if one can remember the rules of the language, he or she will probably do well in the subject.

Not suitable for: Children who obviously hates to memorise things will not be a good candidate for this method.

Visual Aids method

For children who are poor in logical thinking and abstract representation, using real objects will yield the best outcome. A parent can use pencils, fruits, money etc to represent the actual problems and display them to the child. He or she can then manipulate these real objects to derive the solutions to the problem. Over time, the child should be able to do this mentally without needing any additional physical objects.

Suitable for: Children with poor logic reasoning can benefit greatly from this method, especially if they are bodily-kinesthetic learners. In general, young children should also do well with this method relative to older kids.

Not suitable for: If you child has poor command of English and doesn’t even understand the questions, even this basic method will not be useful. In this case, it will be good if the parent can first identify the missing skill set that the child needs to understand the question before even attempting the problem sums.


Have you discovered which problem sums solving method suits your child best?


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