Problem Solving Strategies
Solving a problem means...
Finding a way out of a difficult situation,
Finding a path around an obstacle,
Reaching a goal that was not easily achievable.
Independent learning requires structured working methods and thinking.
- Orientation phase:What is it about? Search for the given data and for the data to be found; if required, structure and illustrate.
- Creative processing phase:Compiling the data that may be missing. Take the similar assignments into account. Identify the central theme and prepare strategies. Develop a solution idea. Using heuristic strategies and aids (see below) can simplify and accelerate the time required to search for a solution.
- Actual solution phase:Implementing the solution idea, finding the results.
- Evaluation phase:Re-assessing the solution process and the solution. What are the new findings derived from the task? Was the strategy known? Other solutions?
- Extension and cross-linking phase:Cross-linking with existing knowledge and known tasks. Generalisations, variations of an assignment.
Heuristics - art of problem solving
One can learn and teach how to solve a problem.
Click here for more information on heuristic aids, strategies and principles >>
Polya, G. How to solve it. (1957) Garden City, NY: Doubleday and Co., Inc.
On Wikipedia, one can find detailed information and an extensive list of references.
Material from Tom Reardon's Home Page:
- Teaching Problem Solving Strategies:
A 16-page document that has an explanation of George Polya's 4-step method. It also highlights 12 different problem solving strategies and supplies an in-class example of each with a complete solution. For each example there is an accompanying exercise that is similar to the example.
- A collection of 83 problems for students:
This 14-page document has the 12 examples and 12 similar exercises and another 71 exercises for a total of 83 problems.
- 3. Solutions to the 83 problems :
This 17-page document has 'hand' solutions to the 83 problems.