Tag Archives: problem solving

A Problem Solving Spell!

I’m super excited about sharing this ‘Problem Solving Spell’. I modelled it on the problem solving template outlined in Charles & Lester (1984, p. 20), a pic of which I’ve also included at the bottom of this post.

Please feel free to use as you see fit, I’ve included the text below the pic incase you’d like to format in some other way.

Problem Solving Spell























A Problem Solving Spell
In a test or in a lesson
Come across a tricky question
No need to worry, fret, or doubt
This solving spell will help you out

Read the question carefully
Which words or phrases might be key?
Do you understand ok?
Now write it in another way

List what you already know
This gives us hints of where to go
Draw a pic, or act it out
Visualise what it’s about

List your info in a table
Spot a pattern, if you’re able
We now are only half way through
The many tricks that you can use

Struggling to make progress?
Working backwards could be best
Make the question simpler
Or solve a problem similar

But sometimes there will come a time
You’ve thought, and thunk, and tried and tried
Eventually say, ‘what the heck!’
And have a crack at guess and check!

You’ve found an answer, good for you!
And showed your working right way through
Before you’re feeling too spellbound
CHECK THE ANSWER that you’ve found!!!

Basis for the ‘spell’ (Charles & Lester,1984, p. 20)

Screen Shot 2016-04-24 at 8.33.25 am

















Charles, R. I., & Lester Jr, F. K. (1984). An evaluation of a process-oriented instructional program in mathematical problem solving in grades 5 and 7.Journal for Research in Mathematics Education, 15-34.