Present pupils with a familiar setting or a sum that they've tackled before then they're usually fine, but turn it into an unfamiliar problem then it's a different matter. To create a diagram, the problem must be read carefully and the information that has been given to them in the question drawn into the diagram.

However, in the same ways that we teach strategies for other areas of maths, we can also teach strategies to solve maths problems. The first and most important step is to read the problem carefully to understand what you're asked to find out and what information you have been given. They can then work out the solution from the diagram that has been drawn.

These strategies are really useful in helping to solve maths problems.

I have used them with the classes that I've worked with in KS2 to great effect.

When students use this strategy they look for a pattern from the information that has been given.

Once the pattern has been identified, the students can predict what will happen next and then continue the pattern to find the correct solution.

The information that has been set out in the table will hopefully lead students to the correct solution.

Making a list is a strategy that will help students sort out the information that has been given in the problem.

In Years 7–8, students formulate and solve problems when they use mathematics to represent unfamiliar or meaningful situations, plan their approaches, when they apply their existing strategies to seek solutions, and when they verify that their answers are reasonable.

In Years 9–10, students formulate and solve problems when they use mathematics to represent unfamiliar or meaningful situations, when they design investigations and plan their approaches, when they apply their existing strategies to seek solutions, and when they verify that their answers are reasonable.

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