Problem Solving

General Problem-Solving Skills is seen as a way to solve problems without requiring teaching or memorizing specific math knowledge, such as common denominators or using a formula to compute an average.

"Problem solving should be the central focus of the mathematics curriculum"

"Mathematical problem solving, in its broadest sense, is nearly synonymous with doing mathematics."

"A vital component of problem-solving instruction is having children formulate problems themselves."

The problem-solving strategies identified by the NCTM for the K-4 level are "using manipulative materials, using trial and error, making an organized list or table, drawing a diagram, looking for a pattern, and acting out a problem." At the 5-8 level the NCTM adds "guess and check".

Critics cite "trail and error" and other content-independent "problem solving" skills as inappropriate ways of applying the fundamental strategy of "discovery learning" to math.