f65 The Four Steps for Problem Solving - An AskERIC Lesson Plan
AskERIC Lessson Plans

Lesson Plan #: AELP-MPS0012

The Four Steps for Problem Solving

An AskERIC Lesson Plan

Submitted by: Maha Mouzahem
Email: preferedco@Aol.com
School/University/Affiliation: Henry Ford Community College, Dearborn,MI
Endorsed by: Maha Mouzahem, Henry Ford Community College, Dearborn, MI

Date: December 15, 1998

Grade Level: 3, 4


Duration: Two 30-minute sessions

Description: The four steps method of problem solving provides a guide for students to follow in looking back. At each step students should lay down their pencils and ask a question or questions about what he/she has done. The students are constantly reflecting on the problem itself and assessing their work as they process it rather than looking back only after they have completed the problem.

Goals: To be able to solve problems successfully. This method will give them t 7da he ability to focus their attention on the steps in the solution rather than only the answer. Students should have mastered the multiplication, addition, and subtraction.

Objectives: Upon completion of this lesson, the student will be able to solve problems easily and quickly.

Materials: Paper, pencil.


Problem: A can containing 29 marbles weighs 80 grams. The same can with 15 marbles weighs 66 grams. What is the weight of the can?

Step1: Read the problem. What is the important information? What is the question? Visualize the situation. Restate the problem.

Step 2: Diagram or represent the problem. Does the diagram represent all the pertinent information? Is the data correct?

Before After
20 marbles 15 marbles
80 grams 66 grams

What conclusion can you draw from the diagram? "The difference between before and after 5 marbles and 15 grams."

Step 3: Set up the calculations and compute.

80 14 66
-66 3 -52
----- ----- -----
14 42 14

Is the important data included and organized in the proper way? Are the computations correct?
"Yes 80 and 66 are right, so the difference is 14. That's what 5 marbles weigh, so 15 marbles weigh 3.14=42. Then the can weighs 66-42=24
Step 4: Write the answer
The can weighs 24 grams.
Have you answered the question? Does the answer make sense? Is there another way to check it?
"well, 20 marbles would weigh 14.14=56, and 80-56=24, so it must be right."

Assessment: Tying it all together:
At the end of the lesson, give students the opprtunity to explain their strategies for solving problems, and give them some examples to try out. 0