Elementary Math: Solving Logic Problems

Solving problems using logic is a skill that students will hone throughout elementary school and beyond. While we typically think of 'logic problems' as word problems, all math problems require us to use abstract logic to reach a solution. Read on for a list of problem-solving strategies that can help you with logic problems!

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How to Solve Logic Problems

Assess the Problem

The first step in solving a problem is identifying the question and the tools you've been given to answer it. Read the problem carefully, highlighting any information that may be helpful in solving the problem. Cross out any unnecessary information. If there are unfamiliar vocabulary words in the problem, look them up in the dictionary or ask your teacher to explain them.

It can also be helpful to draw a diagram or equation to represent the problem at this point. For example, if the problem describes a shape, you might draw a picture of it. You can also use symbols like number lines and tally marks to help visualize problems.

Develop a Strategy

Now that you've gathered your tools, the next step is to figure out how you're going to use them. This is the point where you decide what specific operations you need to perform to get your answer. You may also mentally estimate what answer you expect to get, or at least what format you expect that answer to have.

If the problem you're solving is multiple choice, you can compare this projection to the answers provided. If the type of answer you're expecting to get doesn't match any of them, you'll need to re-read the question and rethink your strategy. For instance, if you're expecting to get a whole number answer, but the multiple-choice options are all fractions, you might be misunderstanding the question.

Execute Your Plan

Once you've decided on a strategy, try it out and then double-check your calculations. Next, re-read the problem to check that you've answered what was asked. Be sure to include the correct units with your answer.

Check Your Answer

If your teacher permits it, compare your answer to the answers that some of your friends got. If you have a different answer, this doesn't necessarily mean you're wrong, but you should compare your problem-solving strategy and calculations to your friends' so that you can find out why your answers are different.

If you're working alone, ask a parent or teacher to check your work. If you've made a mistake, keep working at the problem until you figure out the correct solution. You might even consider moving on to other problems and then returning to the one you're stuck on later. This can give your brain a chance to rest and generate new ideas.

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