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Essay/Term paper: Problem solving

Essay, term paper, research paper:  Science

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Problem Solving

There are many different strategies that good problem solvers use to
solve a problem. Before using a strategy, you must remember a few things. First,
take your time. Few good problem solvers solve problems fast. Second, don't give
up. You will never solve a problem if you don't try. Last, be flexible. If a
first you don't succeed, try another way. And if the second way doesn't work,
try a third way.
There are a few steps to solving a problem that you should follow. First,
read the problem very carefully. Try to understand every word and make sure you
know what the problem is asking. If you don't know the meaning of a word, look
it up in a dictionary. Second, sort out information that is not needed. Third,
devise a plan. Even guesses have to be planned out. Arrange information in
tables, draw pictures, and compare the information to another problem you know
of. Fourth, carry out the plan. Attempt to solve it and work with care. If the
attempt doesn't work then go back and read the problem again. Last, check your
work carefully. Don't check by repeating the problem, estimate or find another
way to try and to solve the problem.
You can understand what the problem means yet still not be able to solve
it immediately. One good way to help you solve the problem is to draw a picture.
One example of this strategy is suppose you received a problem asking you how
many diagonals a heptagon has. The plan is very obvious. Draw a heptagon and
then draw its diagonals.
Another strategy is trial and error. Trial and error is a problem
solving strategy that everybody uses at one time or another. In trial and error,
you try an answer. If the answer is an error, you try something else. You keep
trying until you get the correct answer.This is a good strategy to use if the
problem only has a few possible answers.
Another good problem solving strategy is to make a table. Some times it
helps a lot to make one. A table is just an arrangement of rows with columns.
Making a table is just one way of organizing information that you know. Below is
an example of a table:

Number if minutes talked
Cost of phone call

Another problem solving strategies is to use a special case. A special case
is an instance of a pattern used for some definite purpose. Special cases help
to test weather a property or generalization is true. The only thing wrong with
this strategy is that even if several special cases of a pattern are true, the
pattern may not always be true.
A strategy called try simpler numbers can be used to devise a plan, to
solve problems, and to check work. For this reason, it is a powerful strategy.
There certainly are many different problem solving strategies a problem
solver can use to solve the problem.

1. Mandy is saving to buy a present for her parents' anniversary. She has $10.00
and she adds $5.00 a week.
a. How much will she save in 12 weeks.
b. How much will she save in w weeks.


a. 70
b. $10.00 + (w*$5.00)

2. Nine teams are to play each other in a tournament. How many games are needed.

Answer: 36 To solve this problem I made a table

12 23 34 45 56 67 78 89
13 24 35 46 57 68 79
14 25 36 47 58 69
15 26 37 48 59
16 27 38 49
17 28 39
18 29

3. Bill is older than Becky. Becky's younger than Bob. Bob is older than Barbara.
. Barbara is older than bill. Who is the second oldest.

Answer: Bill
To solve this problem I drew a picture.

Becky, Barbara, Bob, Bill


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