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Problem Solving

Introduction Problem solving is one of the main emphases in our current mathematics curriculum because it is an essential mathematical process. Mastering the skills in solving problems is important in determining the well-being of an individual. In addition, engagement in solving mathematical problems can be fun. This topic enables you to understand the definition of routine and non-routine problems. You will be introduced to the Polyas Model for solving problems. Then, you will be guided to explore various problem-solving strategies. You will also be assisted to identify students initial errors in solving word problems using Newmans Error Analysis procedure and plan activities relevant to the teaching strategies. As a mathematics teacher, you need to know that the process of solving problems can enhance your students understanding of mathematical concepts. This is due to the fact that your students need to generate new ideas by integrating existing ideas when solving a problem. Moreover, problem solving can help your students to develop and improve their higher-order thinking skills. Last but not least, problem solving can also help to boost your students confidence in doing mathematics. Therefore it is vital for you to build a repertoire of problem-solving strategies. Learning Outcomes By the end of this topic, you will be able to 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. define the meaning of problem and problem solving; differentiate between routine and non routine problems; apply the Polyas Model when solving mathematics word problems; solve mathematical problems using various strategies; identify students errors in solving word problems using Newmans Error Analysis procedure; 6. study and analyze various difficulties in solving word problems; and 7. use appropriate techniques and strategies to teach problem solving effectively.

What do you think a problem is? Jot down your thoughts.



3.1 Problem and Problem Solving The word problem may sound common to you. However, it has a specific meaning in mathematics. A problem is any task in which you are faced with a situation whereby the path to a solution is not obvious and immediate. You may need to integrate some of your existing knowledge in order to overcome obstacles to get the solution. In other words, to solve a problem is to (a) find a way where no way is known off-hand, or (b) find a way out of difficulty, or (c) find a way around an obstacle, or (d) attain a desired end, that is not immediately attainable, by appropriate means. In relation to this, problem solving is the process of solving a problem.

3.2 Routine and Non Routine Problems Generally, problems can be classified as routine and non-routine problems. A routine problem is one that merely requires you to apply some known procedures, usually involving arithmetic operations to get the solution. An example of a routine problem is as follows: What is the area of a 100 metres by 1000 metres parking lot? On the other hand, when you encounter an unusual problem situation in which you do not know of any standard procedure for solving it, then you are facing a nonroutine problem. In such situations, you need to create a new procedure to solve the problem. An example of a non-routine problem is given below: Approximately how many hairs are there on your head?


Polyas Model of Problem Solving

Good problem solving encompasses four phases, according to Polya (1957). He defined the first phase as understanding the problem. Without understanding the meaning, students will not be able to find a correct solution. Once students understand the problem, they device a plan. Polya suggested that the third phase is carrying out the devised plan. Good problem solvers then, look back at the solution to verify its correctness. Step 1 : Understand the problem Here are some questions you might like to ask yourself to help you to understand the problem : Do you understand all the words? Can you restate the problem in your own words? What are you trying to find or do? What information do you obtain from the problem? What are the unknowns? What information, if any, is missing or not needed?



Step 2 :

Devise a plan The questions below can guide you in the process of devising a plan to solve the problem : What is the relationship between the data and the unknown? Is this problem similar to another problem that you have solved? What strategies can you use?

Step 3 :

Carry out the plan The following instructions are some procedures that you might use to carry out your plan. Use the strategy you have selected and solve the problem. Check each step of the plan as you proceed Ensure that the steps are correct.

Step 4 :

Look back This step is often overlooked in problem solving. As a mathematics teacher, you should remind your students to always check their answers. Some guidelines for looking back include the following : Reread the question. Did you answer the question asked? Is your answer correct? Does your answer seem reasonable?

The following flow chart summarizes the procedures of Polyas model.

START What information is given? What do you need to find?


Planning and identify the strategy Solving



Does your plan work ?

Examine your answer carefully


Does it fit the facts



Polyas Four-Step Problem Solving Model



As a mathematics teacher, you need to teach your students how to solve mathematical problems. Learning to use Polyas Model is a first step towards becoming a good problem solver. In Step 2 of Polyas Model, you need to know various strategies to enable you to solve problems. In the next section you will learn about several strategies that you can use.

Do you know

Polya wrote over 250 mathematical papers and three books that promote problem solving. His most famous book, How To Solve It, which has been translated into 15 languages, introduced his four-step approach together with heuristics, or strategies which are helpful in solving problems. (Musser, Burger, Petersen, 2001)

Meanwhile, take a break before you proceed to the next section.




Problem Solving Strategies

General strategies are procedures which help you to choose what knowledge and skills to use at each stage when solving a problem. The strategies you select have to be versatile so that they could be applied to a wide variety of problems. Here are some strategies that you can use. Strategy 1 : Guess and Check The guess and check strategy is useful for solving many types of problems. This is sometimes called trial and error . You are encouraged to make a reasonable guess, check the guess, and revise the guess if necessary. By repeating this process you can arrive at a correct answer that has been checked. To use the guess and check strategy, follow these steps: Make a guess at the answer. Check your guess. Does it satisfy the problem? Use the information obtained in checking to help you make a new guess. Continue the procedure until you get the correct answer.

Example 1: sun and fun represent two three-digit numbers and swim is their four-digit sum. Using all of the digits 0, 1, 2, 3, 6, 7 and 9, in place of the alphabets where each alphabet represents one digit, find the value of each alphabet. s f w u u i n n m

+ S Solution : Step 1 : Understand the problem

Each of the letters in sun, fun and swim must be replaced with the digits 0, 1, 2, 3, 6, 7 and 9 to get the correct sum. The last two digits of sun and fun are the same. Step 2 : Devise a plan Use the Guess and Check strategy. When the alphabet n is replaced by one of the digits, then n + n must be m or 10 + m. Since 1 + 1 = 2, 3 + 3 = 6 and 6 + 6 = 12, there are three possible values for n, namely 1, 3 or 6. Step 3 : Carry out the plan. If n = 1, then n + n = 1 + 1 = 2. That is, m = 2 If n = 3, then n + n = 3 + 3 = 6. That is, m = 6 If n = 6, then n + n = 6 + 6 = 12. That is, 10 + m = 12, then m = 2.



Observe that sun and fun are three-digit numbers and swim is a four-digit number. Therefore you have to carry to the thousands place when you add s and f. Thus the value for s in swim is 1. This gives only two choices for n, that is 3 or 6. Since s + f gives a two-digit number and s = 1, then f must be 9. There are two possibilities : (a) 1 9 w u u i 3 3 6 (b) 1 9 w u u i 6 6 2

+ 1

+ 1

In (a), if u = 0, 2 or 7, there is no value possible for i among the remaining digits. In (b), if u = 3, then u + u plus the carry from 6 + 6 gives i = 7. This leaves w = 0. Therefore the solution is : s = 1, u = 3, n = 6, f = 9, i = 7 and w = 0. Step 4 : Look back Check the sum using the values you obtained to see if you have solved the problem correctly. + s s f w u u i n n m + 1 1 9 0 3 3 7 6 6 2

Exercise 1 In the figure below, the number that appears in the square is the sum of the numbers in the circles on each side of it. Find the numbers in each circle. Use guess and check strategy.


49 36

Strategy 2 : Organize Information in a Chart, Table or Graph This strategy helps you to organize and present information in a chart, table or graph so that it can be read quickly and easily. A graph is a drawing that shows relationships between two or more sets of facts or information. Facts or information can usually be organized into pictographs, bar charts or line graphs.



You must first learn how to read charts, tables, or graphs for information and then learn how to construct them to report information. Reading and constructing graphs are skills that you must have before interpreting, analyzing and using the information. This problem-solving strategy allows you to discover relationships and patterns among data. Example 2: A rectangle has an area of 120 sq. cm. Its length and breadth are whole numbers. What are the two possible values for the length and breadth? Which values give the smallest perimeter? Solution : Step 1 : Understand the problem Information given is area = 120 sq. cm. You know that area = length x breadth. Step 2 : Devise a plan To solve the problem, try to find all the possible values of length and breadth where the product gives 120. Step 3 : Carry out the plan Construct a table of the values of length and breadth as follows : Breadth Length Perimeter 2 60 124 3 40 86 4 30 68 5 24 58 6 20 52 8 15 46 10 12 44

From the above table, you can see that the smallest perimeter is 44 cm. Step 4 : Look back Check your answer to see if you have solved the problem correctly. Length = 12, Breadth = 10 Therefore Area = 12 x 10 = 120 Perimeter = 2 (12 + 10) = 44.
Exercise 2 Find the number of ways to get a total of 21 from the numbers 1, 4, 8 and 16. (Example : 1 + 3(4) + 8 = 21). Organize your data into a table.

Were you able to do Exercises 1 and 2? Good. Well Done! You can take a break before you proceed to Strategy 3.



Strategy 3 : Look for a Pattern When you use this problem-solving strategy, you are required to look for patterns in the data or information given. Then make predictions and generalizations based on your analysis. A pattern is a regular, systematic repetition. A pattern may be numerical, visual or behavioral. By identifying the pattern, you can predict what will come next and what will happen again and again in the same way. Looking for patterns is a very important strategy for problem solving, and is used to solve many different kinds of problems. Sometimes you can solve a problem just by recognizing a pattern, but often you will have to extend a pattern to find a solution. Making a number table often reveals patterns, and for this reason it is frequently used together with this strategy.

Example 3: Find the next two numbers in the sequence below: 7 Solution: Look at the numbers given in the sequence. Try to find the relationship between consecutive numbers. Look for a pattern to find the missing numbers. 7 10 +3 14 +4 19 +5 25 +6 32 +7 40 +8 10 14 19 25

Therefore, the next two numbers are 32 and 40.

Exercise 3 Laura was given ten 50-sen coins by her grandparents for her 5th birthday. If the number of 50-sen coins in her coin box is 30 a week after her birthday and the number of 50-sen coins the week after that was 90, in how many days will she have collected RM135? Use the Look for a pattern strategy to find the answer.



Strategy 4 : Simplify the problem The strategy of simplifying is most often used with other strategies. Writing a simpler problem is one way of simplifying the problem-solving process. Rewording the problem, using smaller numbers, or using a more familiar problem setting may lead to an understanding of the solution strategy to be used. Many problems may be divided into simpler problems to be combined to get a solution. Some problems can be made simpler by working backwards. Sometimes a problem is too complex to solve in one step. When this happens, it is often useful to simplify the problem by dividing it into cases and solving each one separately. Example 4: How many squares are there in the 7 by 7 grid?

Solution : You can solve this problem by counting the number of squares. However, this is a tedious process. Simplifying the problem into smaller number of squares and looking for a pattern will help you to solve this problem quickly.
1 by 1 2 by 2 1+4 1 square 5 squares

3 by 3


14 squares

4 by 4

1 + 4 + 9 + 16

30 squares

You can see that if the size of the grid is n by n, then the total number of squares is obtained by adding the squared numbers from 12 to n2. Therefore, a 7 by 7 grid consists of 1+4+9+16+25+36+49 = 140 squares



Exercise 4 The Tower of Hanoi

One of the three towers shown above has 10 discs of increasing size. What is the least number of moves to transfer these 10 discs from one tower to a different tower if only one disc can be moved at a time and a disc cannot be placed on top of a smaller one. Use the Simplify the problem strategy. (Source : Benner, A.B. Jr. and Nelson, L.T. (2001). Mathematics for elementary th teachers : A conceptual approach 5 ed. Boston: McGraw Hill.)

Did you manage to solve the problems correctly? Good! Take a break before you go on to Strategy 5.

Strategy 5 : Simulation/acting out There are times when you experience difficulty in visualizing a problem or the procedure necessary for its solution. You may find it helpful to physically act out the problem situation. You might use people or objects exactly as described in the problem, or you can use items that represent the people or objects. Acting out the problem may itself lead you to the answer, or it may lead you to find another strategy that will help you find the answer. Acting out the problem is a strategy that is very effective for young children. Example 5: There are five people in a room and each person shakes every other person's hand exactly one time. How many handshakes will there be? Solution : Get four friends to help you to solve this problem. Get two friends to shake hands. This is counted as 1 handshake. Next you get three friends to shake hands. Note how many handshakes will occur when 3 people shake hands. Repeat the same process for four people. Note the number of handshakes.



After acting the problem out, you will note that there is 1 handshake for 2 persons, 3 handshakes for 3 persons and 6 handshakes for 4 persons. If you are the fifth person, then you will shake hands with each of your 4 friends, accounting for 4 more handshakes. Therefore the total number of handshakes is 6 + 4 = 10.
Exercise 5 A family of four wants to cross a river by boat. The family consists of the father, mother, brother and sister. The boat can only carry one adult or one or two children at a time. Find the minimum number of ways in which the family can get across. Use the Simulation/Acting Out strategy.

Source : Fisher, R. & Vince, A. (1998). Investigating maths Book 1. Oxford : Blackwell Education.

Strategy 6 : Draw a picture One of the most helpful strategies for solving problems is to draw sketches and diagrams. Language used to state problems can be clarified by drawing a suitable diagram or picture. A drawing represents the intermediate stage between the concrete and the abstract. You should make you diagrams neat, accurate and properly scaled. Example 6: The membership fee of a club for men and women is in the ratio of 4:3. A group of 2 men and 5 women paid RM4600 as the total membership fee. How much is the membership fee for a man?



Solution You can solve this problem by using algebra. However it is easier if you use a drawing to solve this problem.

2 Men

5 Women

Men = 8 parts

Women = 15 parts

Total number of parts = 8 + 15 = 23 Total membership fee = RM4600 Therefore each part =

RM 4600 RM 200 23

Thus, a mans membership fee = RM200 X 4 = RM800

Exercise 6 If an eight cm square cake serves four people, how many twelve cm square cakes are needed to provide equal servings to eighteen people? Use Draw a picture strategy.

Strategy 7 : Work Backward For some problems, it is often easier to work backward from the end result to see how the process would have to start to get the answer. The example below illustrates this. Example 7: Amira took a collection of coloured tiles from a box. Grace took 13 tiles from Amiras collection. Kiko took half of those remaining. Amira had 11 left. How many tiles did Amira start with?



Solution : This problem is best solved by starting with the end result and working backward to get the answer. Since you are doing the reverse process, all the tiles taken from Amira have to be added back to get the number of tiles Amira has in the beginning.

Remaining tiles Amira has Adding back what Kiko took Adding back what Grace took

= = =

11 11 + 11 22 + 13

= 22 = 35

Therefore in the beginning Amira has 35 coloured tiles.

Exercise 7 Tom competed in a game show and got into a losing streak. First, he bet half of his money on one question and lost it. Then he lost half of his remaining money on another question. Then he lost RM300 on another question. Then he lost half of his remaining money on another question. Finally he got a question right and won RM200. At this point the show ended, and he had RM1200 left. How much did he have before his losing streak began?

Did you manage to solve all the problems in the exercises given? Congratulations! Take a break before you proceed to the next section.




Difficulties in Problem Solving

Sometimes your students face difficulty while solving mathematics problems. Jot down how you identify their difficulties.

Newman (1977) suggested that in solving a mathematical problem, students go through five hierarchal stages : 1. Reading the problem; (Reading) 2. Comprehend what is read; (Comprehension) 3. Carry out a mental transformation from the words of the question to the selection of an appropriate mathematical strategy; (Transformation) 4. Apply the process skills demanded by the selected strategy; (Process Skills) 5. Encode the answer in an acceptable written form. (Encoding) The diagram below summarizes the above stages.

3. Transformation

2. Comprehension 1. Reading

CONCRETE Stories in Real Setting

ABSTRACT Mathematical Symbols

4. Process Skills

5. Encoding Stages of Solving A Word Problem in Mathematics (Gan, 1993)



A lot of research was done to investigate the difficulties in solving mathematics word problems. The table below shows some of the research that has been done.
Error Type Clarkson (Penang, 1983) (n = 1851 errors) % Reading Comprehension Transformation Process Skills Encoding Careless 12 21 23 31 1 12 Kaushil et al. (India, 1985) (n = 329 errors) Marinas & Clements (Penang, 1990) (n = 382 errors) % 0 45 26 8 0 21 Singhatat (Thailand, 1991) (n = 220 errors) % 0 60 8 15 0 16 Gan (Miri, 1993) (n = 685 errors)

% 0 24 35 16 6 18

% 5 41 26 11 3 14

Source : Gan (1993) Prosedur analisis Newman untuk mengenalpasti jenis kesilapan pertama dalam penyelesaian masalah berperkataan matematik. Miri

According to Newman (1977), errors can also occur due to carelessness or the motivation factor, where it was found that the student answered the question carelessly, did not pay much attention or just simply wrote any answer due to a lack of interest in answering. The errors based on these two factors can happen at any stage as shown in the diagram below.


Careless mistakes


Process skills Motivation Encoding Hierarchy in Newmans Error Analysis Procedure




Newmans Error Analysis Procedure

Newman developed a diagnostic method using interview as an instrument to identify the categories of initial errors that happen when solving word problems. According to Newmans method, students are given a test on solving word problems. Students answers are marked by the teacher. After that, the teacher interviews students who have a considerable amount of errors in their answers. This is to identify which initial error category is made by the student. The interview is done in hierarchy, starting from the first category (Reading) until the last category (Encoding). For a particular question, the interview will be stopped once the error is identified and the error category is determined. (a) Category 1: Reading Student who makes mistakes at this stage cannot recognize (pronounce) or read the term, symbol or word in the question. Instructions/ Questions forwarded to the student during interview: Please read this question. If you do not recognize a certain word (that is, unable to pronounce or read a word or cannot utter the word), let me know. Examples of errors at the Reading category: (i) (ii) (b) Student is hesitant in reading the word total when reading the question. The student cannot read the word market in the question.

Category 2: Comprehension At this stage, the student faces problems in understanding the terms, phrases or the given question generally. Instructions/ Questions forwarded to the student during interview: Explain to me what is needed by the problem. Examples of errors at the Comprehension category: During the interview, the student can say the word share confidently (after the Reading stage) but he guesses its meaning as involving the operation subtraction (error in category two Comprehension ).


Category 3: Transformation Error occurs when the student is unable to change the information in the question to mathematical symbols, operations and mathematical sentences correctly. Instructions/ Questions forwarded to the student during interview: Tell me how you found the answer? (Interview question is asked generally) 31


What is the operation involved? How did you work out the problem? Please write down the mathematical sentence that you used to find the answer. (Interview question is asked specifically) Examples of errors at the Transformation category: A student is told to interprete the following question: Ali and Ahmad have a total of 9 marbles. Ali has three marbles. How many marbles does Ahmad have? The student is able to describe correctly during interview (after the Reading and Comprehension stage) : When we add Alis and Ahmads marbles, we get 9 marbles but he wrote the wrong mathematical sentence, that is: 3 + 9 = 12 marbles (d) Category 4: Process Skills The student cannot implement the calculation steps correctly when implementing the algorithm although he was successful in writing the mathematical sentence related to the question. Examples of students responses considered to be wrong include answering randomly, usage of wrong operations, errors in calculation steps or not answering at all. Instructions/ Questions forwarded to the student during the interview: Show and explain how you solve the problem. Examples of errors at the Process skills category: + 4 7 2 5 ----------6 1 2 ---------- mistake in carrying forward (right answer is 72)


Category 5: Encoding At this stage, students are unable to write the answer correctly either in numerals, symbols or words although the student has gone through the Process skills stage successfully. Instructions/ Questions forwarded to the student during interview: Write your answer in complete form. Examples of errors at the Encoding Category: (i) (ii) Answer = RM 1.505 the last numeral is wrong (Right answer: RM 1.55) Area of square = 16 cm Measurement unit is wrong (Right answer : 16 cm2)




Carelessness / Motivation factor

Some students can be careless while implementing a certain problem solving step or answers wrongly although he actually knows how to work out the problem. This may be due to carelessness or feelings of anxiety while solving the problem. Some students who are under pressure or are not motivated will just write any answer in the test but can actually manage to get the right answer when they are at ease or not pressurized. Other students do poorly in their tests but when asked to show how to solve a problem during the interview, they are able to implement it correctly. Usually, with the help of interview questions, many students come to realize that they can in actual fact solve questions which they could not previously do. This was because they were careless during the test due to anxiety, or because they answered in haste and wanted to finish the test quickly.

Exercise 8 Identify the category of initial error for each of the errors given below: 1. 2. 3. 4. In a question, student interpretes remainder as divide. Student solves the algorithm as follows: 13.2 2.5 = 330.0 Student gives the answer to the one word problem solving question as such: Total weight of Ali = 60.0 g During the last test, Ah Chong gave the wrong solution for a certain question but was able to solve it correctly the second time during the interview session. He tells the interviewer that he is shocked he could solve the problem this round because before the interview session he had not ask for help from any party to correct his mistake. During an interview session to identify the error level, Gobi is not successful in saying the word trapezium. Ranjit interpretes at least RM2 as minus RM2.

5. 6.

How did you do in the exercise above? Did you manage to determine all the categories correctly? Good! Take a break before you proceed to the next section.




Teaching Strategies for Problem Solving

How do you normally feel when you encounter a mathematical problem? Jot down your feelings.

Do you remember coming across problems like this? How many hours would two painters need to paint a room if one worked twice as fast as the other? This kind of problems probably bring back some unpleasant memories in you. You may still recall some bad experiences with tedious calculations and meaningless procedures while trying to solve this kind of problems. At that time, you might have felt that you were stumbling blindly through the problems and wish that you were taught some wonderful strategies that might relieve you from your frustrations. Do you realize that your wish can be easily achieved? This is because you can easily be taught some good strategies to solve mathematical problems. Effective teaching of problem solving involves using suitable teaching strategies that can make your students feel comfortable with the problem solving experience. Some guidelines to teach problem solving effectively are given below: Students are not motivated to solve problems that they find boring, irrelevant, too easy, or too difficult. Therefore, you must choose problems carefully, paying special attention to interest and difficulty level. According to Burns (1984, p. 41), a small group structure has the potential to maximize the active participation of each student and reduce individual isolation. When organized in small groups, more students have the opportunity to offer their ideas for reaction and receive immediate feedback. This provides a setting that values social interaction, a needed element of childrens learning. Thus, you should consider putting students in small groups and allow them to solve problems together. No matter how motivated students are, they will not be able to solve problems unless the problem and accompanying instructions are stated clearly and simply. Hence, you should pose problems in such a way that students can clearly understand what is expected of them. Students may become bored if they are expected to work similar problems repeatedly. You should encourage them to practice a strategy or problem



type until it is mastered. Therefore, you should present a wide range of problems. Make problem solving a frequent part of your class teaching so that students do not see it as an isolated skill but as an ongoing, familiar and necessary process. Provide opportunities for students to analyze the structure of problems. At the initial stage, students usually have little experience in deciding on which strategies to use for solving specific types of problems. Trial and error is often a frustrating way to choose a strategy. Thus, you should consider helping your students to select an appropriate strategy for solving a particular problem. Students need to be able to discuss their methods and rationales as a way of organizing and processing their experience. Therefore, you should allow students plenty of time to solve problems, discuss results, and reflect on the problem solving process. With many problems, variety of strategies will result in correct solutions. Ask students what other methods they could have used after a problem is solved successfully. Help students see that various approaches to the problem are acceptable. Hence, you will find it very beneficial to get your students to discuss how a problem might have been solved differently.

Hope that you have found the above guidelines useful. Happy experimenting with new ideas on teaching problem solving! Your tutors would definitely be delighted to hear and learn from your classroom experiences. Summary 1. A problem exists when there is a situation you want to resolve but no solution is readily available. Problem solving is a process by which this situation is resolved. Polyas Model for solving problem involves a four-step process: understand the problem, devise a plan, carry out the plan and look back. 2. There are two types of problems - routine and non-routine. Routine problems can be readily solved by using specific algorithms, whereas non-routine problems have no fixed procedures or algorithms to rely on. 3. There are various strategies that can be used to solve non-routine problems. These include guess and check, look for a pattern, make a drawing, organize information in a chart, table or graph, simulation or acting out, work backward and simplify a problem. The strategies you select have to be versatile so that they could be applied to a wide variety of problems. 4. When solving mathematical problems, errors can happen at five hierarchal levels, namely, Reading, Comprehension, Transformation, Process Skills and Encoding, as suggested by Newmans Error Analysis Procedure. Errors can occur because of carelessness or the motivation factor, where the student answers the question carelessly, do not pay much attention or just simply write any answer because of a lack of interest in answering. The errors based on these two factors can happen at any level.



Congratulations! You have come to the end of Topic 3. Try the tutorial questions at the end of this unit later. If you have any difficulties in understanding and doing the exercises in this unit, you can consult your tutor during the tutorial session. References Bennett, A.B. Jr. & Nelson, L. T. (2001). Mathematics for elementary teachers : A conceptual approach 5th ed. Boston : McGraw Hill. Bitter, G.,Hatfield, M., Edwards, N. (1989). Mathematics methods for the elementary and middle school. A comprehensive approach. Boston : Allyn and Bacon. Burns, M. (1984). The math solution : Teaching for mastery through problem solving. Sausalito, California : Marilyn Burns Education Associates. Cobb, P., Wood, T. & Yackel, E. (1991). A constructivist approach to second grade mathematics. In radical constructivism in mathematics education, pp. 157-176. Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Kluwer Academic Publishers. Cofman, J. (1991). What to solve? Problems & suggestions for young mathematicians. New York: Oxford University Press. Evan, R. & Lappin, G. (1994). Constructing meaningful understanding of mathematics content. In professional development for teachers of mathematics, pp.128-143. Reston, Virginia: NCTM. Fisher, R. & Vince, A. (1998). Investigating maths Book 1. Oxford : Blackwell Education. Henderson, K. B. & Pingry, R. E. (1953). Problem solving in mathematics. In the learning of mathematics: Its theory and practice (21st Yearbook of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics), pp. 228-270. Washington, DC: NCTM. Krulik, S. & Reys, R.E. (1980). Problem solving in school mathematics 1980 Yearbook. Reston, Virginia: NCTM. Lester, F. K. Jr. et. al. (1994). Learning how to teach via problem solving. In professional development for teachers of mathematics, pp.152-166. Reston, Virginia: NCTM. National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) (1980). An agenda for action: Recommendations for school mathematics. Reston, Virginia: NCTM. Polya, G. (1973). How to solve it. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. Simmons, M. (1993). The effective teaching of mathematics. UK: Longman. Suydam, M. (1987). Indications from research on problem solving. In teaching and learning: A problem solving focus. Reston, VA: NCTM. Van De Walle, J.A. (2001) Elementary & middle school mathematics: Teaching developmentally. 4th ed. United States: Addison Wesley Longman, Inc.