Problem solving is a system used to get to an answer. It could be used for many subjects; however, it is especially displayed in math for the early grades. Problem solving has many branches and avenues that stream from it; there are many ways to define it. In my math for educator’s class we spent multiple days fine-tuning what it means to problem solve. We added more terms to our concept map as we used problem-solving skills in our lessons. The main theme in defining problem solving is that there are multiple ways to come up with an answer. For example, you could try connecting the problem to similar problems you had in the past, you can test out different solutions, draw pictures, make charts, look for patterns, implement models and manipulatives, solving the simpler problem, and finally using steps and procedures. In order to put all these methods into practice students must be able to think critically, analyze, asking them if the process makes sense, organize, identify what the problem is, collaborate with a peer, and brainstorm. By combining all of these methods, solving a problem becomes easier to understand on a deeper level.

The role of problem solving in the early elementary grades is to allow students to come up with hypotheses, explore, and experiment in order to get to the correct answer. It is important that children are discovering ideas on their own because that is how they learn best. If you give students the answer without them going through the process of…