SLIP Problems

Were You Wondering?


Why are the problems so challenging?

          We want these gifted young people to learn to be excellent problem solvers.  In order to do this they need to experience problems which do not immediately suggest to them the “correct” answer and how to get it.  Thus, they feel the need to devise a STRATEGY for solving the problem and carrying out their plan. 



          Some age-appropriate strategies

*    Make an organized list

*    Find a pattern

*    Draw a picture

*    Trial and error (guess and check)

*    Solve a simpler (and similar) problem

*    Experiment or act it out or use objects


What if the student doesn’t get the right answer?

          Few students will get the right answer to all the problems.  They will all get the right answer by the time we have discussed the problem together in class.  They are learning together-we are more in interested in how they did the problem than we are in just getting the right answer.


May parents help with SLIP problems?

          Of course, if you want to!  Allow the student to try it “their way” and if they need encouragement or hints, fell free to give them.  Don’t work the problem for them unless you think that is the best thing to do right then! 


Don’t you have to know algebra to do some of these problems?

          No.  None of these problems require knowledge of algebra.  Often, our problem-solving strategies will provide a simple way to solve the problem, even if those who know algebra recognize the problems as ones you can write equations to solve.