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Saturday, December 23, 2006

Problem Solving

A weapon that is very occasionally used by parents is the word `because‘.

“Why do we have to go to visit Aunt Emerald this Christmas?” (Because)

“Why do we have to learn Equations?” (Because)

Sometimes we are able to work through a topic all the right reasons. For example:

Solve 3x + 5 = 11

One of your explanations:
Equations are sums where numbers are replaced with letters. Rearrange the equation to work out the value of the mystery letter. Remember that it is an equation: both sides are equal so whatever you do to one side must also be done to the other side of the equation! Write down all working to make sure you don’t make any silly mistakes.

Solve 3x + 5 = 11

3x = 11 – 5 ß taking 5 from both sides

3x = 6

x = 6 ¸ 3 ß dividing both sides by 3

x = 2

`Mum, why do I have to learn equations?
`Learning to solve an equation can help you to learn to pay attention to detail - and do the required steps of working out. Once you have the solution you can test the answer to see if you have worked the equation out correctly.’

`But Dad does it differently.’
`You can change the language. You dad will probably be able to show you different methods of arriving at the answer. You find the method that suits you.’

`What benefit will I get from solving an equation?’
`You will be solving problems all your life. Solving equations also encourages you to be able to cope with the four rules of number (addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division). Solving equations forces you to order the steps to be carried out.

`Do I really have to do it now?’
`Yes! Because!’

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