Help kids learn to make sense of problems and persevere in solving them. This is the first of 8 mathematical practices, or habits, called for by Common Core standards. I created icons to help remind students of each habit.

Understanding the Icon for Habit #1

As students solve problems, refrain from telling them the solution steps. Instead, ask probing questions and allow plenty of time!

Here are four questions that can help students as they try to solve a word problem, along with additional suggestions.
  • Does the problem make sense?
    [Perhaps read the problem to a partner and discuss what it means.]
  • Can you use a picture, diagram, graph, or table?
    [Draw or copy existing images and add more information if possible.]
  • Can you try a simpler, related problem?
    [Consider putting easier numbers in the problem and seeing how they are related. Does that give you an idea how to solve the original problem?]
  • Does your answer make sense?
    [When you have found an answer, read the problem again. Is the answer reasonable? If not, look back and see if there is another way to solve the problem.]
Please see the FREE poster with icons for all 8 Common Core habits of math.
FREE Math Habits Poster

Download this freebie from Teachers Pay Teachers. You can also link from the free poster to related resources for emphasizing the practice standards using student-friendly language in K-2 and 3-5. Please look at the Previews!