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With just a bit of encouragement, most students will draw pictures.
From there, students begin to apply that understanding to basic word problems and often begin using a Model Drawing approach.
A Model Drawing is simply a pictorial representation that helps students internalize and visualize math.
We can't expect students to solve every problem with numbers. Most of the time they will move around in the steps as they refine their thinking and their solutions.
Children need to experience how to deal with math problems on their own terms and in concrete ways before moving to the abstract.
We discuss below several that will be of value for problems on this web-site and in books on problem solving.
In this site we have linked the problem solving lessons to the following groupings of problem solving strategies.
Only then can we see the results of their conceptual understanding of applying mathematics.
When we tell elementary students to make a pattern, they often do not understand.
To differentiate, begin to encourage students to label their drawings.
Remember that drawings do not need to be perfect; they just need to clearly show their thinking.