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Learning to solve problems is a crucial part of mathematics education as, when children grow up, they will be presented with situations that require them to be able to solve mathematical problems, such as: How much will I need to pay if we divide this bill by four? What if David had two drinks and Sophie didn't have a starter, then how much should we each pay? How many tins of paint will I need to buy to paint my bedroom? Which bank account gives the best interest?

It is not just enough to learn to add, subtract, multiply and divide. Children need learn to solve problems: they need to learn to break down problems into simpler steps; they need to identify which operation(s) is needed to solve the problem; and they need to learn to persevere, as the solution isn't always immediately apparent.

So, in short, the best way to learn to solve problems is by solving problems!

The activities in the Open-ended Maths Investigations series encourage pupils to apply higher order mathematical strategies creatively and effectively. The investigations become increasingly complex as you progress through the series, enabling pupils to develop proficiency in a wide range of problem-solving strategies.

The investigations are designed to allow pupils to bring their own thinking and learning strategies to the task. Some pupils will work systematically and logically. Some will draw pictures to make sense of situations and yet others will plunge in using a trial and error approach, fixing up and mistakes and refining their thinking as they go along. Pupils will benefit from seeing the different ways of approaching problems and discussing and comparing their methods with those of their peers.

The Open-end Maths Investigations can be used in isolation, in sequence or dipped into as teachers require, providing a great supplement to every maths scheme of work.

The books in the Open-ended Maths Investigations series provide teachers with open-ended investigations matched to the following strands of mathematics:

  • Number
  • Money
  • Measurement
  • Space
  • Chance and data
  • Patterns and algebra
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