Problem-Solving for Lower Primary Learners

7 Steps to Problem-Solving

The moment students hear ‘problem-solving’ or ‘word problems’, they often relate it to finding the numbers and performing the operations. Although nothing is wrong with that, it is important that learners see beyond ‘performing number operations’ and motivate and guide them to understand the problem and solve it. POLYA framework identifies four basic principles of problem-solving; Understand the problem, Devise a plan, Carry out the plan and check the answer.  These principles are essential in guiding the learners to have an in-depth understanding of the problems. Below are few strategies to help learners develop the first and most important principle; to understand the problem


1) Get learners to read the entire problem. Teachers/Parents to read together with the learner 

2) Ask the following questions in this order;

- Who are the subjects (people/objects) in this problem?

- What does the question want me to find?

3) Use a problem-solving grid to organize information

A screenshot of a cell phone

Description automatically generated

4) Read the problem again, 1 sentence at a time and help them to systematically act it out. 

5) Discuss the meaning of each statement 

6) Annotate – Highlight/underline/use symbols to sieve out important information from the problem

7) Teach students how to construct bar models after they have acted out the problem


With step by step guided practice, students will now be able to understand the question before they straight jump into solving them. To learn more essential strategies to support lower primary learners in maths, join us at the upcoming workshop on Problem-solving for Lower Primary Learners conducted by DAS Academy.