The Problem Solving Process (PSP) in Imagine Math 3+

PSP is Imagine Math's five-step Problem Solving Process.

Goals of the Problem Solving Process:

  1. Situate the mathematics of the lesson in meaningful and appropriately complex problems.
  2. Teach students a problem solving process that they can use in other situations and that includes reflection on their thinking.
  3. Help students move between multiple representations of a problem situation including context, diagram, word equation, and numeric representation.

The Five Steps:

  1.  Analyze the problem situation

       a. Identify what the problem is asking.
       b. Identify the quantities in the problem.
       c. Select a diagram that models the problem situation.

  2. Plan to solve the problem

       a. Think about why writing an equation is a useful strategy for solving the problem.
       b. Describe how the quantities in the problem are related.

  3. Solve the problem

       a. Build a word equation to represent the problem situation.
       b. Solve the equation.
       c. Interpret the solution.

    (When students require additional assistance from a live certified math teacher, they can utilize the Math Help button within the Solve the Problem step.)

  4. Justify your solution - explain why the solution makes sense.
  5. Evaluate the problem solving process - think about how writing an equation helped you solve the problem.


Use the Journaling Resources for the Problem Solving Process located in Teacher Resources.