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A problem is defined as a situation in which a person wants something and does not know immediately what series of actions he can perform to get it. In our current context, mathematical ideas are involved in the actions to resolve the situation. Thus the four elements that must exist before we are in a problem solving situation are:

1) a situation must exist involving an initial state and a goal state 2) the situation must involve mathematics 3) a person must desire a solution 4) there must be some blockage between the initial and desired states.

Calculating the means of a set of numbers is an exercise or task, not a problem, for 7th graders. They know immediately how to proceed, having learned the skill in the fifth grade according to our scope and sequence. Deciding if there is a direct relationship between two variables and whether the data is reliable enough (using measures of central tendancy like means) is likely to be a problem for most 7th graders since those skills are not taught before the 7th grade.

There are three affective considerations to problem solving: 1) You must desire a solution; 2) You must feel it is within your ability to solve; 3) you must believe that you can begin to work on the problem. This third consideration comes from having experience in solving problems and from having an understanding (explicit or intuitive) in the procedures and processes that are usually involved in solving problems. The purpose of the math curiculum is to give a person experience in solving a variety of problems (where math is involved) and several procedures and a general process for solving problems. A problem comprises a situation and an objective.

What are Mathematical Problems?

Definitions Bruner (1961) cited the work of Weldon who claimed that one needs to consider 'troubles', 'puzzles', and 'problems' when defining a problem. A 'trouble' is a circumstance or situation which makes one upset and uncomfortable. A 'puzzle' has a nice tight form, clear structure, and a neat solution. A problem is a puzzle placed on top of a trouble. Funkhouser (1990) referred to this definition as ³lighthearted´, and Shulman (1985) called it his ³favorite epigram.´ I think Bruner¶s citation is interesting. According to Kantowski (1977), "An individual is faced with a problem when he encounters a question he cannot answer or a situation he is unable to resolve using the knowledge immediately available to him. He must then think of a way to use the information at his disposal to arrive at the goal, the solution of the problem" (p. 163). The author differentiates between a problem and an exercise. In the case of a problem, an algorithm which will lead to a solution is unavailable. In an exercise one determines the algorithm and then does the manipulation. Mervis (1978) defines a problem as "a question or condition that is difficult to deal with and has not been solved" (p. 27). Lester (1980) says that "A problem is a situation in which an individual or group is called upon to perform a task for which there is no readily accessible algorithm which determines completely the method of solution" (Quoted in Lester, 1980, p. 287 from Lester, 1978). Buchanan (1987) defines mathematical problems as "non-routine problems that required more than ready-to-hand procedures or algorithms in the solution process" (p. 402). McLeod (1988) defines problems as "those tasks where the solution or goal is not immediately attainable and there is no obvious algorithm for the student to use" (p. 135). According to Blum and Niss (1991), a problem is a situation which has certain open questions that "challenge somebody intellectually who is not in immediate possession of direct methods/procedures/algorithms, etc. sufficient to answer the question" (p. 37). Thus a problem is relative to the individuals involved; that is, what is a problem for one person may be an exercise for another. For example, the task 2 + 3 may be a problem for a pre-schooler but not for a middle-schooler. A common element in the definitions of Kantowski, Lester, Buchanan, McCleod, and Blum and Niss is that there is no known algorithm to solve a problem. The problem solver has to design a method of solution. In Becoming a better problem solver 1 (Ohio Department of Education, 1980), it is stated that a mathematical problem has four elements:

1. A situation which involves an initial state and a goal state. 2. The situation must involve mathematics. 3. A person must desire a solution. 4. There must be some blockage between the given and desired states (p. 5). This definition has an affective component (the desire to find a solution) which is absent in the previous definitions. Kilpatrick (1985) defines a problem as "a situation in which a goal is to be attained and a direct route to the goal is blocked" (p. 2). In a similar way, Mayer (1985) claims that a problem occurs when one is faced with a "given state" and one wants to attain a "goal state." The preceding three definitions refer to initial and goal states in a problem situation. The other definitions do not refer explicitly to goals. Polya (1985), the father of problem solving, identified two categories of problems: 1. Problems to find, the principal parts of which are the unknown, the data, and the condition. 2. Problems to prove which comprise a hypothesis and a conclusion. Blum and Niss (1991) also identified two kinds of mathematical problems. There are applied mathematical problems in which the situation and question belong to the real-world (outside of mathematics); and there are pure mathematical problems which are embedded entirely in mathematics. These appear to be similar to Polya¶s categories.

Teachers¶ Conceptions of a Mathematical Problem Studies have been done into teachers¶ conceptions of a problem. For example, Thompson (1988) found that 5 of the 16 teachers whom she studied conceived a problem as "the description of a situation involving stated quantities, followed by a question of some relationship among the quantities whose answer called for the application of one or more arithmetic operations" (p. 235). The teachers¶ responses implied that a problem has an answer, usually a number, and there is a unique procedure to obtain that answer. Thompson (1988) found that teachers had varying conceptions of problems. For example, some teachers gave 'story' or 'word' problems as examples of problem tasks.

Students¶ Conceptions of a Mathematical Problem

There were also studies into students¶ conceptions of a problem. For example, Frank (1988) conducted a study with 27 mathematically talented middle school students to investigate their beliefs about mathematics and how these beliefs influence their problemsolving practices. She used a questionnaire, interviews and observations. She found that students believed that mathematical problems must be solvable quickly in a few steps and that mathematical problems were routine tasks which could be done by the application of known algorithms. They perceived non-routine problems as "extra credit" tasks. Students believed that if a problem could not be solved in less than 5 to 10 minutes, either something was wrong with them or the problem. The goal of doing mathematics was to obtain "right answers." Students focused entirely on answers which to them were either completely right or completely wrong. Spangler (1992) used open-ended questions to assess students' beliefs about mathematics and found that students do have beliefs about certain aspects of mathematics. Some of her findings concurred with those of other researchers, e.g., Frank (1988). Spangler (1992) found that one of the common beliefs among students was that a mathematical problem has only one correct answer. Students were not prepared to accept that a problem could have different answers, all being correct. They indicated that they preferred one method to multiple methods for solving a problem because they did not have to remember much. Students admitted that they could obtain the correct answer to a problem without understanding what they were doing. Students rarely checked to see if their answers made sense in the context of the given problem. They verified their answers with the teacher or by checking the text and they are not inclined to look for multiple solutions or to generalize their results. Mtetwa and Garofalo (1989) identified the following unhealthy beliefs which students have about mathematics and mathematical problem solving:

1. In mathematical word problems the relative size of numbers is more important than the relationships between the quantities which they represent. For example, numbers which are to be subtracted are usually close in size, and numbers which are to be divided are not close in size and are evenly divisible. They claimed that teachers and textbooks help to perpetuate these beliefs. 2. Computation problems must be solved by using a step-by-step algorithm. This is a consequence of the instructional practices of teachers. 3. Mathematics problems have only one correct answer. The consequence of

such a belief is that students fail to recognize/consider/accept other valid and reasonable answers. They contend that such a belief could develop from textbook answers and classroom experiences.

There is some degree of consistency between teachers¶ and students¶ conceptions of a problem. For example, they believe that a problem has one correct answer which is usually obtained by a step-by-step procedure.

Summary

The essence of these definitions is that a problem is a task or experience which is being encountered by the individual for the very first time and, therefore, there is no known procedure for handling it. The individual has to design his/her own method of solution drawing upon the various skills, knowledge, strategies, and so forth, which have been previously learned. What the individual does in the process of working towards a solution is referred to as problem solving; so the emphasis is not on the answer but on the processes involved. From this perspective many routine word problems which appear in textbooks are mistakenly designated as problems. They are not; they are merely exercises. A problem is relative to the individual; what may constitute a problem for one person may not be a problem for another because he/she might have encountered it before. Teachers and students have similar conceptions of a problem and these conceptions are sometimes inconsistent with the literature.

What is mathematical problem solving? Mathematical problem solving is a complex cognitive activity involving a number of processes and strategies. Problem solving has two stages: problem representation and problem execution. Successful problem solving is not possible without first representing the problem appropriately. Appropriate problem representation indicates that the problem solver has understood the problem and serves to guide the student toward the solution plan. Students who have difficulty representing math problems will have difficulty solving them. One of the most powerful problem representation strategies is visualization. Developmentally, for most children, visualization matures somewhere between the ages of 8 and 11. Therefore, students in upper elementary school should be able to use visualization effectively to represent mathematical problems. Students with LD, however, who have been characterized

as having a variety of strategy deficits and differences, usually have difficulties using visualization as an effective learning strategy for remembering information and representing problems. Many students do not develop the ability to use visual representation automatically during math problem solving. These students need explicit instruction in how to use visualization to represent problems. Teaching mathematical problem solving is a challenge for many teachers, many of whom rely almost exclusively on mathematics textbooks to guide instruction. Most mathematics textbooks simply instruct students to draw a picture or make a diagram using the information in the problem. Students with LD at the upper elementary level may be incapable of developing an appropriate representation of the problem for a variety of reasons. First, they are generally operating at a fairly concrete level. Second, they are poor at visual representation. As a result, symbolic representation may not be possible without explicit instruction that incorporates manipulatives and other materials that will help students move from a concrete to a more symbolic, schematic level. In other words, teachers must provide systematic, progressive, and scaffolded instruction that considers the students¶ cognitive strengths and weaknesses. Students who have difficulty solving math word problems usually draw a picture of the problem without considering the relationships among the problem components and, as a result, still do not understand the problem and therefore cannot make a plan to solve it. So, it is not simply a matter of ³drawing a picture or making a diagram;´ rather, it is the type of picture or diagram that is important. Effective visual representations, whether with manipulatives, with paper and pencil, or in one¶s imagination, show the relationships among the problem parts. These are called schematic representations (van Ga rderen & Montague, 2003). Poor problem solvers tend to make immature representations that are more pictorial than schematic in nature. The illustration below shows the difference between a pictorial and a schematic representation of the mathematical problem presented at the beginning of the brief.

Other cognitive processes and strategies needed for successful mathematical problem solving include paraphrasing the problem, which is a comprehension strategy, hypothesizing or setting a goal and making a plan to solve the problem, estimating or predicting the outcome, computing or doing the arithmetic, and checking to make sure the plan was appropriate and the answer is correct (Montague, 2003; Montague, Warger, & Morgan, 2000). Mathematical problem solving also requires self-regulation strategies. Students with LD are notoriously poor self-regulators. During this developmental period, it is imperative that they be explicitly taught how to self-instruct (tell themselves what to do), self-question (ask themselves questions), and self-monitor (check themselves as they solve the problem).

Descriptive Statement Problem posing and problem solving involve examining situations that arise in mathematics and other disciplines and in common experiences, describing these situations mathematically, formulating appropriate mathematical questions, and using a variety of strategies to find solutions. By developing their problem-solving skills, students will come to realize the potential usefulness of mathematics in their lives. Meaning and Importance Problem solving is a term that often means different things to different people. Sometimes it even means different things at different times for the same people! It may mean solving simple word problems that appear in standard textbooks, applying mathematics to real-world situations, solving nonroutine problems or puzzles, or creating and testing mathematical conjectures that may lead to the study of new concepts. In every case, however, problem solving involves an individual confronting a situation which she has no guaranteed way to resolve. Some tasks are problems for everyone (like finding the volume of a puddle), some are problems for virtually no one (like counting how many eggs are in a dozen), and some are problems for some people but not for others (like finding out how many balloons 4 children have if each has 3 balloons, or finding the area of a circle). Problem solving involves far more than solving the word problems included in the students' textbooks; it is an approach to learning and doing mathematics that emphasiz questioning es and figuring things out. The Curriculum and Evaluation Standards of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics considers problem solving as the central focus of the mathematics curriculum. "As such, it is a primary goal of all mathematics instruction and an integral part of all mathematics activity. Problem solving is not a distinct topic but a process that should permeate the entire program and provide the context in which concepts and skills can be learned." (p. 23) Thus, problem solving involves all students a large part of the time; it is not an incidental topic stuck on at the end of the lesson or chapter, nor is it just for those who are interested in or have already mastered the day's lesson. Students should have opportunities to pose as well as to solve problems; not all problems considered should be taken from the text or created by the teacher. However, the situations explored must be interesting,engaging, and intellectually stimulating. Worthwhile

mathematical tasks are not only interesting to the students, they also develop the students' mathematical understandings and skills, stimulate them to make connections and develop a coherent framework for mathematical ideas, promote communication about mathematics,

represent mathematics as an ongoing human activity, draw on their diverse background experiences and inclinations, and promote the development of all students' dispositions to do mathematics (Professional Standards of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics). As a result of such activities, students come to understand mathematics and use it effectively in a variety of situations.

Problem solving Problem solving is a basic skill needed by today¶s learners. The problem-solving skill is an important intellectual activity for human beings; it is also a very important springhead of humankind¶s knowledge. Guided by recent research in problem solving, changing professional standards, new workplace demands, and recent changes in learning theory, educators and trainers are revising curricula to include integrated learning environments which encourage learners to use higher order thinking skills, and in particular, problem solving skills.

Problem solving has become the means to rejoin content and application in a learning environment for basic skills as well as their application in various contexts. Problem solving also includes attitudinal as well as cognitive components. To solve problems, learners have to want to do so, and they have to believe they can. Motivation and attitudinal aspects such as effort, confidence, anxiety, persistence and knowledge about self are important to the problem solving process.

Problem solving involves both analytical and creative skills: analytical in comprehending the problem and the relationships within the original situation, and in checking the results of results of each step, and creative in devising the solution. Imagination plays a large part in both of these skills: problem solving requires the ability to imagine a chain of intermediate steps and their consequences.

For example to solve the problem of crossing a river by chopping down a tree and laying it across the river appears to be quite simple. The ability to imagine the individual steps in a solution and their results can only be gained through experience, acquisition of subject specific knowledge and understanding, and practice in using the necessary tools. True creativity in problem solving lies in lateral thinking that is in the ability to imagine the results of processes in different contexts to those previously experienced. This requires the ability to abstract, at least sub-consciously, generalizations, and while such transfer may be possible between different contexts within one academic discipline it is not as easy to achieve between contexts in different disciplines.

Models of Problem solving The most explicit analyses of knowledge and procedural skills required to solve the problems are provided by the following models. The models are based on similar analyses of performance, but somewhat different characterizations of knowledge at each stage of problem solving.

2.1 Early Models of Problem Solving The first problem solving models broke down into two distinct approaches:

2.1.1 The traditional scientific method

2.1.2 An introspective creative method Scientists often report using both methods to enable discovery.

2.1.1 The Scientific Process by Dewey (1910) Define the problem Suggest possible solutions and identify alternative Reason about the solutions and implement Test and prove

2.1.2 The Creative Process by Wallas (1926) Problem formulation and information gathering Incubation - allowing the unconscious to work on it Illumination - working to gain insight Verification - testing for accuracy

2.2 The Engineering Model Etter (1995) presented a model used by students to solve engineering problems. Define the problem - state it clearly Gather information - describe input and output Generate and evaluate potential solutions Refine and implement solutions Verify and test solution method and result 2.3 Classroom Model Polya (1945 and 1962) was the first to describe a problem solving model based on classroom experience: Four stages of Problem Solving are as follows:

Understand and explore the problem Find a strategy Use the strategy to solve the problem Look back and reflect on the solution. Although we have listed the Four Stages of Problem Solving in order, for difficult problems it may not be possible to simply move through them consecutively to produce an answer. It is frequently the case that children move backwards and forwards between and across the steps. In fact the figure1 below is much more like what happens in practice. Understand

Look back

strategy

Solve Understand and explore the problem State the question Identify the goal Give known, unknowns and conditions Introduce drawings or notations

There is no chance of being able to solve a problem unless you can first understand it. This process requires not only knowing what you have to find but also the key pieces of information that somehow need to be put together to obtain the answer. Children will often not be able to absorb all the important information of a problem in one go. It will almost always be necessary to read a problem several times, both at the start and during working on it. During the solution process, children may find that they have to look back at the original question from time to time to make sure that they are on the right track.

Find a strategy Outline a potential solution Look at similar problems Restate the problem differently Break it into sub problems Finding a strategy tends to suggest that it is a fairly simple matter to think of an appropriate strategy. However, there are certain problems where children may find it necessary to play around with the information before they are able to think of a strategy that might produce a

solution. This exploratory phase will also help them to understand the problem better and may make them aware of some piece of information that they had neglected after the first reading.

Use the strategy to solve the problem Refine and transform into a solution Relate tasks to givens and unknowns Check validity of each step Define steps in relations to the whole problem

Having explored the problem and decided on a plan of attack, the third problem-solving step, solve the problem, can be taken. Hopefully now the problem will be solved and an answer obtained. During this phase it is important for the children to keep a track of what they are doing. This is useful to show others what they have done and it is also helpful in finding errors should the right answer not be found.

Look back and reflect on the solution Confirm results and arguments Assess effectiveness of solution Assess accuracy of results Assess usefulness of solution for solving other Problem-Solving Techniques

It is not enough to describe a problem-solving process and to describe how individuals differ in their approach to or use of it. It is also necessary to identify specific techniques of attending to individual differences. Fortunately, a variety of problem-solving techniques have been identified to accommodate individual preferences. It is important that techniques from both categories be selected and used in the problem-solving process. Duemler and Mayer (1988) found that when students used exclusively either reflection or inspiration during problem solving, they tended to be less successful than if they used a moderate amount of both processes. This section offers some examples of both types of techniques; the next section will demonstrate how to integrate them into the problem-solving process to accommodate individual differences. The following techniques focus more on logic and critical thinking, especially within the context of applying the scientific approach: Analysis Backwards planning Categorizing/classifying Challenging assumptions Evaluating/judging

Inductive/deductive reasoning Thinking aloud Network analysis Plus-Minus-Interesting Task analysis

The following problem-solving techniques focusmore on creative, lateral, or divergent thinking:

Brainstorming Imaging/visualization Incubation Outcome psychodrama Outrageous provocation Overload Random word technique Relaxation Synthesizing Taking another's perspective Values clarification Integrating Techniques into the Problem -Solving Process

The problem-solving techniques discussed above are most powerful when combined to activate both the logical/rational and intuitive/creative parts of the brain. The following narrative will provide an example of how these techniques can be used at specific points in the problem solving process to address important individual differences. The techniques will be presented within the context of a group problem-solving situation but are equally applicable to an individual situation.

The Input Phase

The goal of the Input phase is to gain a clearer understanding of the problem or situation. The first step is to identify the problem and state them clearly and con cisely. Identifying the problem means describing as precisely as possible the gap between one's perception of present circumstances and what one would like to happen. Problem identification is vital to communicate to one's self and others the focus of the problem-solving/decision-making process. The second step of the Input phase is to state the criteria that will be used to evaluate possible alternatives to the problem as well as the effectiveness of selected solutions. The third step is to gather information or facts relevant to solving the problem or

making a decision. This step is critical for understanding the initial conditions and for further clarification of the perceived gap.

The Processing Phase

In the Processing phase the task is to develop, evaluate, and select alternatives and solutions that can solve the problem. The first step in this phase is to develop alternatives or possible solutions. This generation should be free, open, and unconcerned about feasibility. Enough time should be spent on this activity to ensure that non-standard and creative alternatives are generated. The next step is to evaluate the generated alternatives via the stated criteria. The third step of the processing phase is to develop a solution that will successfully solv the e problem. For relatively simple problems, one alternative may be obviously superior. However, in complex situations several alternatives may likely be combined to form a more effective solution.

The Output Phase

During the Output phase a plan is developed and the solution actually implemented. The plan must be sufficiently detailed to allow for successful implementation, and methods of evaluation must be considered and developed. When developing a plan, the major phases of implementation are first considered, and then steps necessary for each phase are generated. It is often helpful to construct a timeline and make a diagram of the most important steps in the implementation using a technique such as network analysis. Backwards planning and task analysis are also useful techniques at this point. The plan is then implemented as carefully and as completely as possible, following the steps as they have been developed and making minor modifications as appropriate.

The Review Phase

The next step, evaluating implementation of the solution, should be an ongoing process. Some determination as to completeness of implementation needs to be considered prior to evaluating effectiveness. The second step of this phase is evaluating the effectiveness of the solution. It is particularly important to evaluate outcomes in light of the problem statement generated at the beginning of the process. Affective, cognitive, and behavioral outcomes should be considered, especially if they have been identified as important crit ria. The final e step in the process is modifying the solution in ways suggested by the evaluation process. Evaluation of the solution implementation and outcomes generally presents additional

problems to be considered and addressed. Issues identified in te rms of both efficiency and effectiveness of implementation should be addressed.

Summary and Conclusions

There is a need to develop and use a problem-solving/decision-making process that is both scientific and considerate of individual differences and viewpoints. While the scientific process has provided a method used successfully in a wide variety of situations, researchers have described individual differences that can influence perspectives and goals related to problem solving. These differences can be used to identify appropriate problem solving techniques used in each step of the problem-solving process. The process described in this paper allows individuals to use a standard method in a variety of situations and to adapt it to meet personal preferences. The same process can be used in group situations to satisfy the unique perspectives of individual members. Decisions made in this manner are more likely to be effective since individuals can consciously attend to both personal strengths and weaknesses.

Problem

Solving

Terminology

Systems

Thinking

Problem Solving is very important but problem solvers often misunderstand it. This report proposes the definition of problems, terminology for Problem Solving and useful Problem Solving patterns. We should define what is the problem as the first step of Problem Solving. Yet problem solvers often forget this first step. Further, we should recognize common terminology such as Purpose, Situation, Problem, Cause, Solvable Cause, Issue, and Solution. Even Consultants, who should be professional problem solvers, are often confused with the terminology of Problem Solving. For example, some consultants may think of issues as problems, or some of them think of problems as causes. But issues must be the proposal to solve problems and problems should be negative

expressions while issues should be a positive expression. Some consultants do not mind this type of minute terminology, but clear terminology is helpful to increase the efficiency of Problem Solving. Third, there are several useful thinking patterns such as strategic thinking, emotional thinking, realistic thinking, empirical thinking and so on. The thinking pattern means how we think. So far, I recognized fourteen thinking patterns. If we choose an appr opriate pattern at each step in Problem Solving, we can improve the efficiency of Problem Solving. This report will explain the above three points such as the definition of problems, the terminology of Problem Solving, and useful thinking patterns.

Terminology of Problem Solving We should know the basic terminology for Problem Solving. This report proposes seven terms such as Purpose, Situation, Problem, Cause, Solvable Cause, Issue, and Solution. Purpose Purpose is what we want to do or what we want to be. Purpose is an easy term to understand. But problem solvers frequently forget to confirm Purpose, at the first step of Problem Solving. Without clear purposes, we can not think about problems. Situation Situation is just what a circumstance is. Situation is neither good nor bad. We should recognize situations objectively as much as we can. Usually almost all situations are not problems. But some problem solvers think of all situations as problems. Before we recognize a problem, we should capture situations clearly without recognizing them as problems or nonproblems. Without recognizing situations objectively, Problem Solving is likely to be narrow sighted, because problem solvers recognize problems with their prejudice. Problem Problem is some portions of a situation, which cannot realize purposes. Since problem solvers often neglect the differences of purposes, they cannot capture the true problems. If the purpose is different, the identical situation may be a problem or may not be a problem. Cause Cause is what brings about a problem. Some problem solvers do not distinguish causes from problems. But since problems are some portions of a situation, problems are more general than causes are. In other words causes are more specific facts, which bring about problems.

Without distinguishing causes from problems, Problem Solving can not be specific. Finding specific facts which causes problems is the essential step in Problem Solving. Solvable Cause Solvable cause is some portions of causes. When we solve a problem, we should focus on solvable causes. Finding solvable causes is another essential step in Problem Solving. But problem solvers frequently do not extract solvable causes among causes. If we try to so lve unsolvable causes, we waste time. Extracting solvable causes is a useful step to make Problem Solving efficient. Issue Issue is the opposite expression of a problem. If a problem is that we do not have money, the issue is that we get money. Some problem splvers do not know what Issue is. They may think of "we do not have money" as an issue. At the worst case, they may mix the problems, which should be negative expressions, and the issues, which should be positive expressions. Solution Solution is a specific action to solve a problem, which is equal to a specific action to realize an issue. Some problem solvers do not break down issues into more specific actions. Issues are not solutions. Problem solvers must break down issues into specific action.

Thinking patterns for thinking processes If we can think systematically, we do not have to be frustrated when we think. In contrast, if we have no systematic method, Problem Solving frustrate us. This reports lists five systematic thinking processes such as rational thinking, systems thinking, cause & effect thinking, contingent thinking, and the Toyota fs five times WHYs method . Rational thinking Rational thinking is one of the most common Problem Solving methods. This report will briefly show this Problem Solving method. 1. Set the ideal situation 2. Identify a current situation 3. Compare the ideal situation and the current situation, and identify the problem situation 4. Break down the problem to its causes

5. Conceive the solution alternatives to the causes 6. Evaluate and choose the reasonable solution alternatives 7. Implement the solutions We can use rational thinking as a Problem Solving method for almost all problems.

Systems thinking Systems thinking is a more scientific Problem Solving approach than the rational thinking approach. We set the system, which causes problems and analyze them based on systems f functions. The following arre the system and how the system works. System Purpose Input Output Function Inside cause (Solvable cause) Outside cause (Unsolvable cause) Result

y y y y y y y

In order to realize Purpose, we prepare Input and through Function we can get Output. But Output does not necessarily realize Purpose. Result of the Function may be different from Purpose. This difference is created by Outside Cause and Inside Cause. We can not solve Outside Cause but we can solve Inside Cause. For example, when we want to play golf, Purpose is to play golf. If we can not play golf, this situation is Output. If we can not play golf because of a bad weather, the bad weather is Outside Cause, because we can not change the weather. In contrast, if we cannot play golf because we left golf bags in our home, this cause is solvable. Then, that we left bags in our home is an Inside Cause. Systems thinking is a very clear and useful method to solve problems. Cause & effect thinking Traditionally, we like to clarify cause and effect relations. We usually think of finding causes as solving problems. Finding a cause and effect relation is a conventional basic Problem Solving method.

Contingent thinking Game Theory is a typical contingent thinking method. If we think about as many situations as possible, which may happen, and prepare solutions for each situation, this process is a contingent thinking approach. Toyota fs five times WHYs At Toyota, employees are taught to think WHY consecutively five times. This is an adaptation of cause and effect thinking. If employees think WHY and find a cause, they try to ask themselves WHY again. They continue five times. Through these five WHYS, they can break down causes into a very specific level. This five times WHYs approach is very useful to solve problems. Thinking patterns for efficient thinking In order to think efficiently, there are several useful thinking patterns. This report lists five patterns for efficient thinking such as hypothesis thinking, conception thinking, structure thinking, convergence & divergence thinking, and time order thinking. Hypothesis thinking If we can collect all information quickly and easily, you can solve problems very efficiently. But actually, we can not collect every information. If we try to collect all information, we need so long time. Hypothesis thinking does not require collecting all information. We develop a hypothesis based on available information. After we developed a hypothesis, we collect minimum information to prove the hypothesis. If the first hypothesis is right, you do not have to collect any more information. If the first hypothesis is wrong, we will develop the next hypothesis based on available information. Hypothesis thinking is a very efficient problem solving method, because we do not have to waste time to collect unnecessary information.

Conception thinking Problem Solving is not necessarily logical or rational. Creativity and flexibility are other important aspects for Problem Solving. We can not recognize these aspects clearly. This report shows only what kinds of tips are useful for creative and flexible conception. Following are portions of tips. To be visual. To write down what we think.

y y

y y

Use cards to draw, write and arrange ideas in many ways. Change positions, forms, and viewpoints, physically and mentally.

We can imagine without words and logic, but in order to commun icate to others, we must explain by words and logic. Therefore after we create ideas, we must explain them literally. Creative conception must be translated into reasonable explanations. Without explanations, conception does not make sense. Structure thinking If we make a structure like a tree to grasp a complex situation, we can understand very clearly.

Upper level should be more abstract and lower level should be more concrete. Dividing abstract situations from concrete situations is helpful to clarify the complex situations. Very frequently, problem solvers cannot arrange a situation clearly. A clear recognition of a complex situation increases efficiency of Problem Solving. Convergence & divergence thinking When we should be creative we do not have to consider convergence of ideas. In contrast, when we should summarize ideas we must focus on convergence. If we do convergence and divergence simultaneously, Problem Solving becomes inefficient. Time order thinking Thinking based on a time order is very convenient, when we are confused with Problem Solving. We can think based on a time order from the past to the future and make a complex situation clear.

Problem Solving Skill Development Routine to Non -Routine Quantitative skills and methods (mathematics) represents a growing body of rules and patterns that can be carefully, in other words intelligently, used one at a time and one after another, alone and in sequence, to arrive at repeatable, reproducible, observable and hence verifiable results. To develop problem solving skills, and avoid re-invention of the wheel, students will be exposed to problems and situations in which the mathematical skills and concepts they have met can be applied in routine or predictable manner. The first aim of mathematics instruction is to give students those skills and concepts - previously found or hard-won by previous generations - for solving routine problems and puzzles in a straightforward or combinatorial or opportunistic manner. For that, logic mastery would be useful for the development of precision reading and writing skills. The well-practiced ability to record problem solving steps and effort in a clear legible format readable by peers, teachers and themselves would make aid and speed routine problem solving. Routine problem solving (challenging as it may be to some students) in which mathematical skills and concepts are pieces of a jigsaw puzzle - one whose solution is standard - even on display - represents a first step in developing the critical thinking and problem solving skills of students. It provides a standard for all further problem solving. Seeing what kinds of problems have been met and/or solve before, and how, provides a model for further problem solving. Greater knowledge of the kinds of problems met before and how they have been solved provides a systematic base for further problem solving. Mathematics in the first instance, is an art form, a discipline, with simple and then more complicated rules, patterns and methods to master. For many routine problems or situations in daily life and in our cultures that students need to learn to address and solve with ways that lead to repeatable and reproducible results - reliable results. Once students have sufficient drill and practice, sufficient exposure, the use of some skills and concepts should become familiar, automatic, and their use no longer an adventure. Problem solving from a state of ignorance is over-rated. With a combinatorial or creative mind, standing on prior knowledge of what has worked or not, is better. While creativity (the combination of previously mastered skills and concepts, and the invention of new ones) is possible with any level of knowledge, the ability to be creative and in that produce methods to solve problems in a verifiable manner - a manner that peers can follow or reproduce increases with the level of knowledge and level of skill and competence. Students need to learn when creativity is required and when previous methods give satisfactory results. Problem solving situation with incomplete information of what has been done - a

partial state of ignorance - may be provided to show how a greater knowledge of previous solution reduces problem solving challenges. Problem solving in an society where common problems repeat themselves and thus become routine should be based routine solutions methods, methods whose efficacy, suitability and limitations has been checked and understood by the user. With practice, solving common problem should become routine.

Empirical problem solving aims to find or apply methods with repeatable and reproducible, and reliable results. That may turn open problems into routine problems. Practice in solving problems which have become routine may prepare students for open problems. Practice in solving routine problems and puzzles in a straightforward or combinatorial or opportunistic manner when solution methods are not given provides a model for tackling non-routine problems, a model that stands on and then looks beyond previous methods. Remark: Routines and methods in society for "solving" problems may lead to repeatable, reproducible and harmful results. The ability to follow instructions carefully and precisely is a plus for getting results but not a guarantee that the results will be ethnical or that practices will be sustainable. So students should not be trained to follow methods or instructions without reflection on the benefits and limitations of the methods. Routine solution methods may be challenged and should be for the everyone's sake. But those routine methods cannot be challenge, cannot be considered and examine carefully if their study is avoided.

Routine problem solving From the curricular point of view, routine problem solving involves using at least one of the four arithmetic operations and/or ratio to solve problems that are practical in nature. Routine problem solving concerns to a large degree the kind of problem solving that serves a socially useful function that has immediate and future payoff. Children typically do routine problem solving as early as age 5 or 6. They combine and separate things such as toys in the course of their normal activities. Adults are regularly called upon to do simple and complex routine problem solving. Example 1: A sales promotion in a store advertises a jacket regularly priced at RM125.98 but now selling for 20% off the regular price. The store also waives the tax. You have RM100 in your pocket (or RM100 left in your charge account). Do you have enough money to buy the jacket?

Answer: The original price is RM 125.98 20% off the regular price and I have RM 100.00 = RM 100 ± RM 100.80 = -RM 0.80 No enough because I still need RM 0.80 just can buy that jacket.

Example 2 You may need to use more than one operation to solve some problems. These are called multiple-step problems. The blacksmith could forge 6 swords in two days. How many swords could he forge in 9 days? First, divide 2 into 6 swords to see how many swords he could make in one day. 6 2=3

Then multiply your answer by 9 to see how many swords he could make in 9 days. 3 x 9 = 27

Example 3 At the tavern, Ralph bought a mug of mead for 1 shilling, bread for 2 shillings, meat for 2 shillings, and a souvenir for his children 5 shillings. How much did Ralph spend on food? First, find the information you need to solve the problem. Some information is extra. The extra information is: Ralph bought a souvenir toy for his children for 5 shillings. I'll solve the problem using only the information I need. 1+2+2=5 Ralph spent 5 shillings on food.

Problem Solving Skill Development Routine to Non -Routine

Quantitative skills and methods (mathematics) represents a growing body of rules and patterns that can be carefully, in other words intelligently, used one at a time and one after another, alone and in sequence, to arrive at repeatable, reproducible, observable and hence verifiable results.

To develop problem solving skills, and avoid re-invention of the wheel, students will be exposed to problems and situations in which the mathematical skills and concepts they have met can be applied in routine or predictable manner. The first aim of mathematics instruction is to give students those skills and concepts - previously found or hard-won by previous generations - for solving routine problems and puzzles in a straightforward or combinatorial or opportunistic manner. For that, logic mastery would be useful for the development of precision reading and writing skills. The well-practiced ability to record problem solving steps and effort in a clear legible format readable by peers, teachers and themselves would make aid and speed routine problem solving.

Routine problem solving (challenging as it may be to some students) in which mathematical skills and concepts are pieces of a jigsaw puzzle - one whose solution is standard - even on display - represents a first step in developing the critical thinking and problem solving skills of students. It provides a standard for all further problem solving. Seeing what kinds of problems have been met and/or solve before, and how, provides a model for further problem solving. Greater knowledge of the kinds of problems met before and how they have been solved provides a systematic base for further problem solving.

Mathematics in the first instance, is an art form, a discipline, with simple and then more complicated rules, patterns and methods to master. For many routine problems or situations in daily life and in our cultures that students need to learn to address and solve with ways that lead to repeatable and reproducible results - reliable results. Once students have sufficient drill and practice, sufficient exposure, the use of some skills and concepts should become familiar, automatic, and their use no longer an adventure.

Problem solving from a state of ignorance is over-rated. With a combinatorial or creative mind, standing on prior knowledge of what has worked or not, is better. While creativity (the combination of previously mastered skills and concepts, and the invention of new ones) is possible with any level of knowledge, the ability to be creative and in that produce methods to solve problems in a verifiable manner - a manner that peers can follow or reproduce increases with the level of knowledge and level of skill and competence. Students need to learn when creativity is required and when previous methods give satisfactory

results. Problem solving situation with incomplete information of what has been done - a partial state of ignorance - may be provided to show how a greater knowledge of previous solution reduces problem solving challenges.

Problem solving in an society where common problems repeat themselves and thus become routine should be based routine solutions methods, methods whose efficacy, suitability and limitations has been checked and understood by the user. With practice, solving common problem should become routine.

Empirical problem solving aims to find or apply methods with repeatable and reproducible, and reliable results. That may turn open problems into routine problems. Practice in solving problems which have become routine may prepare students for open problems. Practice in solving routine problems and puzzles in a straightforward or combinatorial or opportunistic manner when solution methods are not given provides a model for tackling non -routine problems, a model that stands on and then looks beyond previous methods.

Remark: Routines and methods in society for "solving" problems may lead to repeatable, reproducible and harmful results. The ability to follow instructions carefully and precisely is a plus for getting results but not a guarantee that the results will be ethnical or that practices will be sustainable. So students should not be trained to follow methods or instructions without reflection on the benefits and limitations of the methods. Routine solution methods may be challenged and should be for the everyone's sake. But those routine methods cannot be challenge, cannot be considered and examine carefully if their study is avoided.

Non-routine problem solving Non-routine problem solving serves a different purpose than routine problem solving. While routine problem solving concerns solving problems that are useful for daily living (in the present or in the future), non-routine problem solving concerns that only indirectly. Nonroutine problem solving is mostly concerned with developing students¶ mathematical reasoning power and fostering the understanding that mathematics is a creative endeavour. From the point of view of students, non-routine problem solving can be challenging and interesting. From the point of view of planning classroom instruction, teachers can use nonroutine problem solving to introduce ideas (EXPLORATORY stage of teaching); to deepen and extend understandings of algorithms, skills, and concepts (MAINTENANCE stage of teaching); and to motivate and challenge students (EXPLORATORY and MAINTENANCE stages of teaching). There are other uses as well. Having students do non-routine problem solving can encourage the move from specific to general thinking; in other words, encourage the ability to think in more abstract ways. From the point of view of students growing to adulthood, that ability is becoming more important in today¶s technological, complex, and demanding world. Non-routine problem solving can be seen as evoking an µI tried this and I tried that, and eureka, I finally figured it out.¶ reaction. That involves a search for heuristics (strategies seeking to discover). There is no convenient model or solution path that is readily available to apply to solving a problem. That is in sharp contrast to routine problem solving where there are readily identifiable models (the meanings of the arithmetic operations and the associated templates) to apply to problem situations. The following is an example of a problem that concerns non-routine problem solving. Consider what happens when 35 is multiplied by 41. The result is 1435. Notice that all four digits of the two multipliers reappear in the product of 1435 (but they are rearranged). One could call numbers such as 35 and 41 as pairs of stubborn numbers because their digits reappear in the product when the two numbers are multiplied together. Find as many pairs of 2-digit stubborn numbers as you can. There are 6 pairs in all (not including 35 & 41). Solving problems like the one above normally requires a search for a strategy that seeks to discover a solution (a heuristic). There are many strategies that can be used for solving unfamiliar or unusual problems. The strategies suggested below are teachable to the extent that teachers can encourage and help students to identify, to understand, and to use them. However, non-routine problem solving cannot be approached in an automatized way as can routine problem solving. To say that another way, we cannot find nice, tidy methods of solution for all problems. Inevitably, we will be confronted with a situation that evokes the response; ³I haven't got much of a clue how to do this; let me see what I can try.´ The list below does not contain strategies like: µread the question carefully¶, µdraw a diagram¶, or µmake a table¶. Those kinds of strategies are not the essence of what it takes to be successful at non-routine problem solving. They are only preliminary steps that help in getting organized. The hard part still remains - to actually solve the problem - and that takes more powerful strategies than drawing a diagram, reading the question carefully, or making a table. The following list of strategies is appropriate for Early and Middle Years students in that the strategies involve ways of thinking that are likely to be comfortable for these students. y y y y y y Look for a pattern Guess and check Make and solve a simpler problem. Work backwards. Act it out/make a model. Break up the problem into smaller ones and try to solve these first.

It is important that students share how they solved problems so that their classmates are exposed to a variety of strategies as well as the idea that there may be more than one way to reach a solution. It is unwise to force students to use one particular strategy for two important reasons. First, often more than one strategy can be applied to solving a problem. Second, the goal is for students to search for and apply useful strategies, not to train students to make use of a particular strategy. Finally, non-routine problem solving should not be reserved for special students such as those who finish the regular work early. All students should participate in and be encouraged to succeed at non-routine problem solving. All students can benefit from the kinds of thinking that is involved in non-routine problem solving.

Non routine problem

Problem: Solution:

The mean of 29 test scores is 77.8. What is the sum of these test scores? To find the mean of n numbers, we divide the sum of the n numbers by n.

If we let n = 29, we can work backwards to find the sum of these test scores.

Multiplying the mean by the 29 we get: 77.8 x 29 = 2,256.2 Answer: The sum of these test scores is 2,256.2

In the problem above, we found the sum given the mean and the number of items in the data set (n). It is also possible to find the number of items in the data set (n) given the mean and the sum of the data. This is illustrated in Examples 1 and 2 below.

Example 1: The mean of a set of numbers is 54. The sum of the numbers is 1,350. How many numbers are in the set? Solution:

To find n, we need to divide 1,350 by 54.

Answer:

n = 25, so there are 25 numbers in the set.

Example 2: The mean of a set of numbers is 0.39. The sum of the numbers is 1.56. How many numbers are in the set? Solution:

To find n, we need to divide 1.56 by 0.39.

However, we cannot divide by a decimal divisor. We will multiply both the divisor and the dividend by 100 in order to get a whole number divisor.

Answer:

n = 4, so there are 4 numbers in the set.

In the next few examples, we will be asked to find the missing number in the data set given the other numbers in the data set and the mean. The words mean and average will be used interchangeably. Example 3: Gini's test scores are 95, 82, 76, and 88. What score must she get on the fifth test in order to achieve an average of 84 on all five tests?

Solution:

We are given four of the five test scores. The sum of these 4 test scores is 341. If we let x represent the fifth test score, then the expression 341 + x can represent the sum of all five test scores.

If we multiply the divisor by the quotient, we get: 5 · 84 = 341 + x 420 = 341 + x 420 - 341 = x x = 79 Answer: Gini needs a score of 79 on her fifth test in order to achieve an average of 84 on all 5 tests. The Lachance family must drive an average of 250 miles per day to complete their vacation on time. On the first five days, they travel 220 miles, 300 miles, 210 miles, 275 miles and 240 miles. How many miles must they travel on the sixth day in order to finish their vacation on time? The sum of the first 5 days is 1,245 miles. Let x represent the number of miles traveled on the sixth day. We get:

Example 4:

Solution:

If we multiply the divisor by the quotient, we get:

250 · 6 = 1,245 + x 1,500 = 1,245 + x 1,500 - 1,245 = x x = 255 Answer: The Lachance family must drive 255 miles on the sixth day in order to finish their vacation on time.

Comparing routine and non -routine problem solving

To make clearer the distinction between routine and non-routine problem solving, consider the following two problems. Both are suitable for grade 3.

Problem 1

My mom gave me 35 cents. My father gave me 45 cents. My grandmother gave me 85 cents. How many cents do I have now? Problem 2

Place the numbers 1 to 9, one in each circle so that the sum of the four numbers along any of the three sides of the triangle is 20. There are 9 circles and 9 numbers to place in the circles. Each circle must have a different number in it.

Notice that addition is required for both problems. In problem 1, you need to figure out that you need to add. Understanding addition as modeling a µput together¶ action helps you realize that.

In problem 2, you are told to add by the word µsum¶ . Understanding addition as modeling a µput together¶ action does not help you with solving problem 2. Being good at arithmetic might

help you a bit, but the matter really concerns a search for strategies to apply to the problem. Guess and check is a useful strategy to begin with.

George Polya 1887 - 1985 George Polya was a Hungarian who immigrated to the United States in 1940. His major contribution is for his work in problem solving. Growing up he was very frustrated with the practice of having to regularly memorize information. He was an excellent problem solver. Early on his uncle tried to convince him to go into the mathematics field but he wanted to study law like his late father had. After a time at law school he became bored with all the legal technicalities he had to memorize. He ti red of that and switched to Biology and the again switched to Latin and Literature, finally graduating with a degree. Yet, he tired of that quickly and went back to school and took math and physics. He found he loved math. His first job was to tutor Gregor the young son of a baron. Gregor struggled due to his lack of problem solving skills. Polya (Reimer, 1995) spent hours and developed a method of problem solving that would work for Gregor as well as others in the same situation. Polya (Long, 1996) mainta ined that the skill of problem was not an inborn quality but, something that could be taught. He was invited to teach in Zurich, Switzerland. There he worked with a Dr. Weber. One day he met the doctor s daughter Stella he began to court her and eventually married her. They spent 67 years together. While in Switzerland he loved to take afternoon walks in the local garden. One day he met a young couple also walking and chose another path. He continued to do this yet he met the same couple six more times as he strolled in the garden. He mentioned to his wife how could it be possible to meet them so many times when he randomly chose different paths through the garden . He later did experiments that he called the random walk problem. Several years later he pu blished a paper proving that if the walk continued long enough that one was sure to return to the starting point. In 1940 he and his wife moved to the United States because of their concern for Nazism in Germany (Long, 1996). He taught briefly at Brown University and then, for the remainder of his life, at Stanford University. He quickly became well known for his research and teachings on problem solving. He taught many classes to elementary and secondary classroom teachers on how to motivate and teach skills to their students in the area of problem solving. In 1945 he published the book How to Solve It which quickly became his most prized publication. It sold over one million copies and has been translated into 17 languages. In this text he identifies fou r basic principles . Polya s First Principle: Understand the Problem This seems so obvious that it is often not even mentioned, yet students are often stymied in their efforts to solve problems simply because they don t understand it fully, or even in part. Polya taught teachers to ask students questions such as: y y y y y Do you understand all the words used in stating the problem? What are you asked to find or show? Can you restate the problem in your own words? Can you think of a picture or a diagram that might help you understand the problem? Is there enough information to enable you to find a solution?

Polya s Second Principle: Devise a plan

Polya mentions (1957) that it are many reasonable ways to solve problems. The skill at choosing an appropriate strategy is best learned by solving many problems. You will find choosing a strategy increasingly easy. A partial list of strategies is included: y y y y y y y Guess and check Make and orderly list Eliminate possibilities Use symmetry Consider special cases Use direct reasoning Solve an equation y y y y y y y Look for a pattern Draw a picture Solve a simpler problem Use a model Work backward Use a formula Be ingenious

Polya s third Principle: Carry out the plan This step is usually easier than devising the plan. In general (1957), all you need is care and patience, given that you have the necessary skills. Persistent with the plan that you have chosen. If it continues not to work discard it and choose another. Don t be misled, this is how mathematics is done, even by professionals. Polya s Fourth Principle: Look back Polya mentions (1957) that much can be gained by taking the time to reflect and look back at what you have done, what worked and what didn t. Doing this will enable you to predict what strategy to use to solve future problems. George Polya went on to publish a two-volume set, Mathematics and Plausible Reasoning (1954) and Mathematical Discovery (1962). These texts form the basis for the current thinking in mathematics education and are as timely and important today as when they were written. Polya has become known as the father of problem solving.

Multivariate Polya distribution From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Jump to: navigation, search The multivariate Pólya distribution, also called the Dirichlet compound multinomial distribution, is a compound probability distribution, where a probability vector p is drawn from a Dirichlet distribution with parameter vector , and a set of discrete samples x is drawn from the multinomial distribution with probability vector p. The compounding corresponds to a Polya urn scheme. In document classification, for example, the distribution is used to represent probabilities over word counts for different document types. The probability of a vector of counts x given the parameter vector parameters p of the multinomial distribution: is obtained by integrating out the

which results in the following explicit formula:

where

is the gamma function, and nk is the number of times the outcome in x was k.

The two-dimensional version of the multivariate Pólya distribution is known as the Beta-binomial model. The multivariate Pólya distribution is used in automated document classification and clustering, genetics, economy, combat modeling, and quantitative marketing.

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