**Step 1: Cry**

**Step 2: Give up**

**Step 3: Move on**

This is the three-step process many students go through when
they get stuck on a math homework assignment, test, or project. Not only is this process not effective, it is
counter productive. It fosters a fear
and hatred of math and leads to more future frustrations. Below I have the PRODUCTIVE and EFFECTIVE
three-step method that I teach to my students.

####
**Step 1: Cry**

It is ok to be stuck,
frustrated, angry, and disappointed. Everyone has these feelings. Math is hard for everyone at some point, but
what really matters is how you work through the difficult problems to learn and
grow from them.

####
**Step 2: Break it Down**

No, I’m not talking about dancing, though that may help
getting over step 1. I’m talking about
breaking down the problem into smaller parts.
Long word problems and multi-step problems overwhelm many students.

For long word problems look for my post

**How to Tackle a Word Problem.**
For multi-step problems, ask yourself, “What do I need to
know first” or “What do I need to do first”.
Taking it one step at a time turns a long, difficult problem into
smaller, less difficult problems.

####
**Step 3: Use Resources**

If you’re done crying and you can’t figure out how to break
it down use your resources! Many
students don’t realize all the tricks they have in their math bag. Pull those suckers out!! Here are some resources you can use:

__Math notes__– Take good notes in class or else these are pretty useless!__Textbook__– Even if your teacher doesn’t “follow” the book, it is a great resource! Look to the glossary or table of contents for your topic.__Family__– If your mom or dad can’t help you, maybe a brother, sister, cousin, uncle, or aunt can!__Classmates__– Get the contact information from some of your classmates at the beginning of the school year so you can ask them for help. I love it when students work together on their homework, but make sure everyone understands each problem.__Teacher__– Go to the teacher’s office hours or schedule a meeting during lunch, before school, or after school. Just remember to give them one business day to return your call or email.__Tutor__– If you are stuck on one problem you can call, email, or skype your tutor! They will be happy to help you; it’s their job! If you get stuck often, it might be time to schedule tutoring sessions more frequently. If you need a tutor, look**HERE**__Internet__– Look**HERE**for some great online resources.

The Internet should be your LAST resource. Remember, the Internet doesn’t know what
class you are in; it may suggest a solution that is a higher level math then
your enrolled class. Also, the Internet
offers MANY distractions and will likely end up in you giving up on math and
playing Candy Crush for hours (not that that’s ever happened…) I would suggest working down the
aforementioned list until you find your solution.

Students: What do you do when you don’t know what to
do? How do you solve difficult problems?

Tutors and teachers: How to you encourage students to not
give up and to find solutions to difficult problems?

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