# Solving The Problem of Problem Solving Q’s in SATs

Updated: Sep 1

Picture this…

Your child is confident with numbers and maths operations. They can divide a fraction by an integer, are able to find the perimeter and area of a shape with no probs and have no trouble with place value. Then they come across a question that is in words, has minimal numbers, but is asking for a mathematical answer! What is this nonsense!? Is it a joke? Is it a riddle? No my friends, this is a reasoning problem. Most of these types of test questions ask that we take loads of info, combine different kinds of maths and perform multi-step calculations.

You’re thinking yeah, but, HOW DO WE DO IT?! Well never fear, hold your horses, make a cuppa and I’ll help you out.

__Get Creative__

We know now that the 2 + 2 = 4 approach won’t work here, and getting creative doesn’t mean 2 + 2 = 22. We need to work out what the question is asking us, break it down and work out what answer it wants from us. In other words, we need to be flexible in our thinking and adventurous in trying things out. Coming up next is a ‘tried and tested’ Sammie Allen tutor’s ‘Step-by-Step’ to come at these questions with an open mind.

__Step-by-Step, we’ll get there…__

__#1__

Read your question as many times as it takes to sort it out in your head. Do you understand the question? Take your time and read 2-3 times to get to grips with it.

__#2__

Underline or circle what it is asking for, eg. ‘How many metres have they travelled?’ or ‘How many eggs has Josie got left?’ or ‘What is the perimeter of Reagan’s rectangle?’

Hint: This bit is the main goal!

__#3__

Find out what information is not there yet, but needed to reach your main goal. In other words, the stepping stones to the final answer. These are your mini-goals!

__#4__

What information is the question giving you? Note down what you need to know separated out from the wording to get it clear in your head.

__#5__

Decide how we need to use the information to get to your mini-goals first. What bits of info go together to get the answer you need?

__#6__

Try it out! Don’t be afraid to experiment with these maths problems. You can do it! Execute and solve the problem.

__Here, Let’s do one together!__

__Here, Let’s do one together!__

__Step 1__

Do you understand the question? No? Well read, read, and read again to help you unpick and get it in your noggin!

__Step 2__

Underline what it’s asking for, in this case it’s, ‘How much change does he get from £5?’

Now we know the answer must be in pounds and pence! This is the MAIN GOAL.

__Step 3__

What info do we need?

We need to know what weight carrots and potatoes Jack has bought!

Then how much altogether these cost.

__Step 4__

Now we’re searching for the information. And here we have it:

Jack is buying 1 ½ kg of potatoes and ½ kg of carrots

Potatoes are £1.50 per kilogram

Carrots are £1.80 per kilogram

__Step 5__

__Now in this section I realise that there is some tricky maths! __

__Here it is a short version so we can focus on the very serious business of problem solving. If you need help with this kind of thing, why not get in touch with Sammie Allen Tutoring and we can tell you aalllllll about it!__

Now we need to decide what to do first, we can multiply or divide, it’s up to you!

We need to take the price of the veg and use it to work out how much each type costs.

Potatoes first (mmmm my favourite!)

£1.50 1 ½ = £2.25

Then, our Carrots

£1.80 ½ = £0.90

Now add those together!

£2.25 + £0.90 = £3.15

__Step 6__

Mini-goals achieved! Now we can just put £3.15 in the answer box, right? NO!

We need to know what __change__ Jack will get, not how much it costs to complete our main goal. To do this we need one final operation, which is of course, subtraction!

Simply take the total of the carrots and potatoes and subtract from the £5.

£5.00 - £3.15 = £1.85

**Woo hoo! Well done, and good luck! Just follow these 6 easy steps when sitting your SATs and you should be able to tackle reasoning, no problem!**

**PROBLEM BUSTING GLOSSARY**

This list will break down some of the words we find in reasoning and what they mean in maths terms!

### ADDITION

Add

Plus

More

Sum

Total

Altogether

**Examples**

How many __altogether__?

What is the __total__ of ______ and _______?

What is ______ __doubled__?

### SUBTRACTION

Subtract

Minus

Leave

Left

Take away

Difference between

**Examples**

How many are __left __over?

How much __less__ is _____ than ______?

How many __fewer__ is _____?

### MULTIPLICATION

Lots of

Times

Multiply

Groups of

Product

Multiple of

Repeated addition

Array

__Examples:__

Use __repeated addition__ to…

______ __lots of__ _____…

What is the __product__ of _____ and ______?

### DIVISION

Divide

Divided by

Divided into

Share

Shared equally

Equal groups of

__Examples:__

_______ is shared equally into_____ groups of_____.

_____ divided by _____ is ____.

### EQUALS

Makes

Total

Same as

Equivalent

Balances

__Examples:__

What is the total number of _____?

How many ____ does ____ make?