Problem Solving (Math)

Essay by Jeremy GersonJunior High, 8th gradeA+, February 1996

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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


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.