# Original Math Problem Solving Activities

Mathematical literacy is one of the learning skills students need to acquire. However, many children find it hard or even boring to study this subject and to learn all the information it includes. This is why we’ll give you some original math problem-solving activities to share with your children.

This fun, attractive and original way of solving math problems will help your children work on their own. Next, we’ll give you some ideas.

*“The essence of math isn’t to make simple things complicated, but to make complicated things simple”.*

*-S. Gudder-*

## Problem-solving in education

According to PISA (Programme for International Student Assessment):

*“Mathematical literacy is an individual’s capacity to reason mathematically and to formulate, employ and interpret mathematics to solve problems in a variety of real-world contexts. It helps individuals know the role mathematics play in the world and make the well-founded judgments and decisions needed by constructive, engaged, and reflective 21st-century citizens”.*

Within mathematical literacy we can find the ability to solve problems in an effective way. However, at school **children usually learn math as an abstract subject, which bears no relation with their every day life**. In fact, this is a big mistake, specially when dealing with math problems.

If children learn math by practicing and repeating similar exercises, they’ll only improve their memory skills and their ability to solve problems in an automatic way. As a result, they’ll leave logical reasoning and reflection aside.

Besides,** it’s important to bear in mind their interest and motivation** when solving problems. If you focus on that, they’ll concentrate more and work harder.

In order to do this, there are certain original math problem solving activities you can share with your children.

*“It’s in mathematics where the spirit finds the elements that it most desires: continuity and perseverance”. *

*-Anatole France-*

## Original math problem-solving activities

### Use magazine cuttings for your original math solving problem activities

In order to do this, you can use food, toys, furniture catalogs, etc. Everything can be useful, **as long as they include the prices.** By sticking the magazine cuttings on a piece of paper, you can come up with original problems about money they can solve.

This way, you’ll be teaching them math skills in a realistic way, using items they can actually find at a store. Furthermore, children will end up understanding why these types of exercises are important.

### Use food containers

Another original math problem solving idea is to use food containers. This is because they usually include many numbers in them (nutrition facts label, ounces, gallons, etc.), which can be quite useful to** come up with questions and problems regarding units of measurement. **

### Use familiar names and situations in your original math problem-solving activities

It can be a very good idea to use the names of people your children actually know, such as their friends, teachers or family members. In fact, they love it when they find their own names in the activities they must solve.

In addition, you can use common situations from their real lives when coming up with the problems. Therefore, it’s important to consider their own context. As a result, children will think about the math problem as a situation they could actually face. Then, they’ll may make an extra effort for their own good or even to help a friend.

## About original math problem solving ideas for children…

As we’ve mentioned before, you can use many items from real life to come up with math problem solving ideas. This way, they won’t find it so difficult to learn this subject, and they may even grow to love it. What are you waiting for to try these ideas?