Problem Solving: Make a Plan
When solving any math problem you first want to concretely identify what you are trying to solve. Then, you go about constructing a plan for solving it. This may sound obvious but as you go on in math the problems progress from 1 step to 2 steps to 20 steps and if you don't break down your plan into small workable steps that fit into the greater whole of solving the problem it is easy to get lost in the minute details. Similarly, not every student that I work with has as their goal to be an aerospace engineer or a mathematician. However, if they have a plan for what they want to go on to study, major in, or a specific career path they can see to what extent their math classes play a role in achieving their goal. A technique I share in helping students with Geometry proofs is the concept of taking what you are wanting to prove(your last step) and working backwards to your givens(your first step). In other words, if you know where you want to end up and you know where you are now you can tunnel from both ends to clear a path towards your goal. So in conclusion, making a plan, working the plan, realizing that understanding math is part of that plan all will give you that extra edge to help you solve your math problems...and achieve your goals.
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