Problem-solving skills are important for mathematical and scientific thinking, but they also help children—and adults—tackle day-to-day challenges.
Most people recognize that problem solving is an important skill for mathematical and scientific thinking. But problem-solving skills and strategies also help children—and adults—tackle day-to-day challenges. Problem solving can help in developing a persuasive argument or solving an engineering or design challenge. Good problem solvers use creative, flexible thinking and can apply problem-solving strategies to art, math, writing, social situations and more.
Researchers and educators typically talk about two aspects of problem-solving: 1) The logic, reasoning, and cognitive skills underlying problem solving abilities, and 2) the strategies and process of solving a problem. Whether they know it or not, good problem solvers go through a mental process consisting of several steps:
Educators understand that the underlying reasoning skills need to be coupled with learned strategies and techniques to facilitate the problem solving process.
Life provides numerous opportunities to help children recognize and approach problems in flexible and strategic ways. Through role play and pretend play, you can help your child become a super-problem solver: