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Solving Math Problems


Solving math problems is easier when you have the right resources. But, what are the right resources? The answer depends on WHO you are, WHAT you are trying to accomplish, and WHY. Are you looking for specific information which will be used one time; or comprehensive, in-depth understanding which you will use in the future?


For example, if you are a student looking for an immediate answer to a narrowly tailored problem, you need one type of resource. If you are a parent trying to ensure your child has a thorough understanding of the concepts being covered in school, you probably need another type of resource. OR, if you are simply preparing meal and need to know how to convert measurements from table spoons to millilitres, you need still another kind of resource. If you are trying to calculate the interest payments on a new car loan, you probably need something else.


In addition to these reasons, some people math problem solving for their own enjoyment - and for no other reason. These people like brain teasers, puzzles, and complex problems to solve. It relaxes them. They probably need another type of resource. The list of possibilities is endless, and so are the answers. This leads us to another type of question: HOW ACCURATE does the information need to be? Can the final answer be rounded? Is a rule of thumb answer adequate for your needs, or do you need an answer with 10 decimal places?


HOW SPECIFIC does the information need to be? Are you looking for general information, or a specific solution to a particular problem? HOW MUCH TIME can you devote to reading, listening to, or viewing the answer to your questions? If you cannot spend much time trying to understand the resource you are using, you need something that gets right to the point. HOW SHOULD THE INFORMATION BE DELIVERED? Is a verbal explanation OK - or do you need a formal written presentation, or a video?


Also ask yourself: WHEN do you need the information you are seeking? Immediately? Within the next week? Within the next 6 months? On a continuous, on-going basis? WHERE do you want the information? On a piece of paper? In your computer? On video? Assuming you have already answered these questions in your own mind, what's the next step? Look at the kind of resources that are available. Match them to your needs.


Math resources come in many forms. They are available in textbooks, from Tutors, from school teachers, in videos, in games, in notes you have taken, in calculators, on the internet through a myriad of software links, through practice worksheets, through tests you can give yourself, through manipulatives, through graphing software and equation solvers, math camps, interactive media of all kinds.

Solving math problems  
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