# How To Solve Math Problems Step By Step Our goal is to solve for the total number of dog toys on the scale, N_toys.Combining the two equations we came up with in our English-to-equation-translation, we get just such an equation: N_toys = ( W_total – W_towels ) / W_toy We can now turn this abstract solution (abstract in the sense of being written in terms of a bunch of variables) into a numerical solution simply by plugging in numerical values for all the variables on the right side of the equals sign.And they require a slightly different mindset to solve.

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The only reason you should declare that you’re done is because you understand the answer you got.

The fifth and final step of the problem solving process is to use the result you’ve obtained to solve other problems. Because we’re talking about solving real world problems here—not just textbook problems.

If you got a huge number, ask yourself if you expected that.

The bottom line is this: Don’t declare that you’re done simply because you got an answer.

The fourth step in the problem solving process is closely related to the first.

The name of the game here is to slow down and take a minute to think about your result. If you plugged in numbers and got a negative number, ask yourself if you expected to get a negative number.A lot of people have trouble with so-called word problems in math.But, believe it or not, these problems usually aren't any harder to solve than non-word problems—they just look very, very different.Now that we have a plan, it's time for the big English-to-equation translation.The second step in solving word problems is turning the words into one or more mathematical expressions or equations. I told her, “mom, the day I become good at math, pigs will fly.” I think pigs just flew. my mom always told me that one day I would be good at math.Sure, all we need to do is put the cat's pile of towels on a smart scale that sends its weight to your computer.Whenever the scale senses a weight increase, it can tell your computer that another toy has been hidden.Which makes sense since our equation was only intended to be used to tell our computer how to convert from total weight to total number of dog toys—we weren’t actually looking for a specific answer to a specific problem.Slow down and take a minute to think about your result.

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