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Double-Check Math Work


Mathematics Study Skills & Tools All Ages Strategy


Working Memory Attention Visual Discrimination Processing Speed Spatial Perception

Double-Check Math Work

If your student has careless math errors

Instruction And Practice

  1. Objective: Students will learn clear strategies to efficiently and consistently check their math work to ensure accuracy.
  2. Adults often tell students to check their work, but not all students know what they really need to do. Different math problems require different approaches, so it will be important to consistently teach and model various approaches. (See next slide for options.)
  3. Students who often incorrectly read their own writing might benefit from an app that can interpret handwriting and translate it into a proper equation or set of equations. One option is MyScript MathPad.

How To Check Math Problems

  1. Inverse Method: Use the inverse operation (addition/subtraction or multiplication/division) to see if your answer is the same number as one of the operands. In the problem 27-14, and an answer of 13, you can add 13+14 to see if the answer is 27. If it's not, go back and try the problem again.
  2. Substitution Method: When solving for an unknown, always substitute your answer back into the equation to be sure it works. If it doesn't, re-do the problem.
  3. Patterns: Identify the next number in the pattern to see if your rule works. If it doesn't, re-think your rule.
  4. Double-check as You Go: For multi-step problems, double-check each step in the problem as you complete it. Initially this might take more time, but you will get faster and will spend less time trying to find mistakes at the end.
  5. Double-check at the End: If you have time at the end of a test, go back and solve the problem again without looking at your initial work. If you get to the same answer, it is likely that you did not make a "silly" mistake.
  6. Double-check with a New Method: Try solving the problem a different way. If two different approaches get you to the same answer, you can be reasonably confident that your answer is correct.

*student* Check Your Math Work

  1. While You Work:
  2. Read the problem
  3. Check to make sure you wrote the problem correctly
  4. Write out every step on paper paying attention to signs
  5. After You Finish:
  6. Double-check the directions and make sure you completed every problem and step of the assignment
  7. Check your work with your preferred method
  8. If you have a mistake and can't correct it, circle it and ask for help
  9. Submit online or put homework in your backpack

Why It Works (the Science Of Learning)!

Learning clear and consistent strategies to check math problems is important for all students to ensure accuracy and can be especially helpful for students who have weaker initiation or attention skills.