The GCSE mathematics curriculum prioritises problem-solving skills. Heather Davis offers advice on how we can teach such skills, with practical ideas for the classroom

Solving problems is at the heart of mathematics. Mathematics evolved to solve problems of everyday life and has developed to solve many more. The mathematical thinking that supports problem-solving is the quality valued in those who have studied mathematics beyond GCSE. It is also why it is a significant part of the 9 to 1 GCSE.

So what qualities in our students are beneficial when it comes to solving problems? I suggest that they are independence, creativity, being able to reason and persevering in the face of setbacks. These qualities then enable students to make connections between topics, to have ideas and to further their own learning: skills that, in turn, also support problem-solving.

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