Problem Solving Essay, Research Paper

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

1

.25

2

.43

3

.61

4

.79

5

.97

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.

Answer:

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

19

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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