If you are not careful, they may try to use it all the time.
As problems get more difficult, other strategies become more important and more effective.
However, sometimes when children are completely stuck, guessing and checking will provide a useful way to start and explore a problem.
Hopefully that exploration will lead to a more efficient strategy and then to a solution.
On the other hand, it can also be cumbersome when used by groups, especially if a largish number of students is involved.
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We have, however, found it a useful strategy when students have had trouble coming to grips with a problem.
Since there are problems where using equipment is a better strategy than drawing, you should encourage children’s use of equipment by modelling its use yourself from time to time.3 Draw It is fairly clear that a picture has to be used in the strategy Draw a Picture. It should only contain enough detail to solve the problem.
Hence a rough circle with two marks is quite sufficient for chickens and a blob plus four marks will do for pigs.
Guess and improve is slightly more sophisticated than guess and check.
The idea is that you use your first incorrect guess to make an improved next guess. In relatively straightforward problems like that, it is often fairly easy to see how to improve the last guess. Children themselves take the role of things in the problem.