Question 1

Problem Solving

Problem solving has long been recognized as one of the hallmarks of mathematics. The greatest goal of learning mathematics is to have people become good problem solvers. We do not mean doing exercises that are routine practice for skill building.

Definition of problem solving

What does problem solving mean? Problem solving is a process. It is the means by which an individual uses previously acquired knowledge, skills, and understanding to satisfy the demands of an unfamiliar situation. The student must synthesize what he or she has learned and apply it to the new situation.


Compare and contrast characteristics of routine and non-routine problems

There are two kinds of problems in our life. There are routine problem and nonroutine problem. There is comparing of routine and non-routine problems:

Routine problems Real life problem Involve one mathematical operation

Non-routine problems Complex problem Require more than one mathematical

operation Basic skills and sequence steps Using critical and creative thinking skills Need understanding, retrieve Need understanding, retrieve information, choose the operation and information, choose the operation and algorithms algorithms Solving through story telling and relate Various strategies and methods to it to real situation Example problem: solve it Example problem:

Each puppet act takes 15 minutes. How long do 4 acts take?

Adult : RM8.29 each Youth : RM5.49 each

The Vaughn family takes a train trip. They buy 3 adult tickets and 3 youth tickets. How much does the Vaughn family spend for tickets?


Solution: 4 acts take 1 hour Solution: Adult Ticket costs RM8 Youth Ticket costs RM5

Try the simpler problem: Adult Ticket : 3 x RM8 = RM24 Youth Ticket : 3 x RM5 = RM15 Total ticket costs:RM24+RM15 = RM39

Now, solve the problem the same way: 3 x RM8.29 = RM24.87 3 x RM5.49 = RM16.47 Total ticket cost: RM41.34

The Vaughn family spends RM41.34 on train tickets. Strategies / heuristics for problem solving

There are many ways to solve word problems. Several word problems will be given and students can choose the method they feel most comfortable with. Some methods are:


check and improve Look for a pattern Draw a diagram Draw a table Logical reasoning Make an analogy Act a situation Working backwards Make a graph (i) Choose the operation Sample problem: The second grades pick 32 pumpkins. The first graders pick 17 pumpkins. so we can subtract. How many more pumpkins do the second graders pick than the first graders? Solution: The question asks how many more. 4 . 32 – 17 = 15 The second graders pick 15 more pumpkins than the graders.• • • • • • • • • • Choose the operation Guess.

where the information about the error helps us choose what trial to make next. The golf balls are passed equally to people in the party. There are more them 5 people in the party. If not. the step is to learn as much as possible about the solution based of the guess before making the next guess. we first guess at a solution using as reasonable a guess as possible. 5 . and revise you guess until you find the correct answer. This strategy can be regarded as a form of trial and error. After the golf balls are passed around.(ii) Guess. Then we check to see whether the guess is correct. check it. check and improve In the strategy guess and check. 6 are left. Sample problem: A worker at Putra Minigolf has a basket of 30 balls for a minigolf party. How many people are in the party? How many golf balls does each person get? Solution: One way to solve the problem is to make a guess.

on usually lists several specific instances of a problem and then look to see if a pattern emerges that suggest a solution to entire problem. Guess: 7 people in the party Check: 30/7 = 4 R2 There are 2 golf balls are left. Each person gets 3 golf balls and 6 balls are left.Guess: 6 people in the party Check: 30/6 = 5 There are no golf balls left. Guess: 8 people in the party Check: 30/8 = 3 R3 6 golf balls are left One possible answer is that 8 people in the party. Try a different number. 6 . Try are different number. (iii) Look for a pattern When using the look for a pattern strategy.

She started with one pine cone in the first group. She put 4 pine cones in the third group.Sample problem: Sara arranged pine cones into different groups. how many pine cones does she put in the eighth group? The number of pine cones doubles each time. and so on. In the next group she put 2 pine cones. 8 pine cones in the fourth. If the number in each row continues to increase in the same way. x2 1 2 x2 4 x2 8 x2 16 x2 32 x2 7 . x2 1 2 x2 4 x2 8 Continue the pattern to find how many pine cones will be in the eight group.

He lives in Taman Jaya. (iv) Draw a diagram In geometry. put the cities in order. Solution: 8 . The list show the distances to Taman Aru. The following problem is a non-geometric problem that can be solved by drawing a diagram or could be done using a piece of paper.x2 64 128 Sara puts 128 pine cones in the eight group. drawing a picture often provides the insight necessary to solve a problem. Taman Aru is 4. Sample problem: Ahmad and his father are talking a tour of his state.5 km east of Taman Aru Uda City is 3. He wants to travels to the cities in order from east to west.5 km east of Taman Jaya Taman Damak is 3. Taman Damak.1 km east of Taman Aru We want to know the distance between the cities and the order of the cities. and Uda City. Going from east to west.

It also helps us to consider all possible cases in a given problem. Draw a diagram of the distance from Taman Jaya to Taman Aru using 1 cm for each km. • The cities in order from west to east Taman Jaya. Taman Aru. Uda City. Use the centimeter ruler to draw a diagram. Taman Aru. You must know that 3. Uda City and Taman Damak. • The cities from east to west are Taman Damak. • Then.• • • We use the problem solving is to draw a diagram.5 cm. Sample problem: 9 .1 cm 3.5 cm Taman Jaya Taman Aru 3. 4.5 km is equivalent to 3. and Taman Jaya. draw the distances of Uda city and Taman Damak from Taman Aru.5 cm Uda City Taman Damak (v) Draw a table A table can be used to summarize data or to help us see a pattern.

Type of fish Angelfish Clownfish Tally Number 8 11 10 . Which type of fish is most popular? Solution: Find which type of fish received the most votes. They will buy the fish chosen by the greatest number of student. Singh’s class voted on the type of fish they would to buy to go into the new aquarium. Organize the votes in a table.Mr.

5 (vi) Simplify the problem Sample problem: Fatimah is making a deli platter for a party. Look at her list.Puffer Mr. Does she have the same amount of meat and cheese? Solution: 11 . She wants to have the same amount of meat and cheese on the platter. Singh’s class will choose the clownfish for the aquarium.

Now solve the problem the same way. so there is more meat. 1/3 + 1/3 + 1/3 = 1 pounds Compare the amounts.Add to find how much meat. Add to find how much meat. 5 > 3. 1/4 + 1/2 + 1/4 + 1/4 = 1 ¼ pounds Add to find how much cheese. using the fractions. 1 ¼ > 1 so there is more meat than cheese. 1 + 2 + 1 +1 = 5 pounds Add to find how much cheese. (vii) Logical reasoning 12 . 1 + 1 + 1 = 3 pounds Compare the amount.

A carnival worker needs to fill an animal’s drinking tank with 6 gallons of water. He has a 5-gallon pail and 8-gallon pail. How can he use these pails to get exactly 6 gallons of water into the tank? Solution: How much water in each: 13 .

This will help us create a visual image of the problem.• • • Fill 8-gallon pail. Pour 3 gallons left in the 8-gallon pail into the tank. (viii) Act a situation We may find it helpful to act out a problem. Now we can empty the water from the 5-gallon pail and repeat steps 1 through 3 to get 6 gallons in the tank. we are more likely to remember the process we used and be able to use it again for solving similar problems. Pour water from 8-gallon pail to fill 5-gallon pail. . By taking an active role in finding a solution. Which shape tables should she use? How many tables will she need? Solution: 14 . Sample problem: The Marble Collectors’ Club luncheon is today! The club president wants to seat 24 members so that every table is filled. Each round table seats 5 people. Each rectangular table seats 6.

Model using round tables. She will need 4 tables. Four tables are filled and 4 people are left over. Model using rectangular tables. Zero people will be left over. The president of the rectangular tables. 15 .

An example of this is when you are trying to figure out the best route to take to get from your house to a store. 16 .(viiii) Working backwards The strategy of working backwards entails starting with the end results and reversing the steps you need to get those results. When do we use this strategy? What are real life examples? There are at least two different types of problems which can best be solved by this strategy: (1) When the goal is singular and there are a variety of alternative routes to take. You would first look at what neighborhood the store is in and trace the optimal route backwards on a map to your home. the strategy of working backwards allows us to ascertain which of the alternative routes was optimal. (2) When end results are given or known in the problem and you're asked for the initial conditions. in order to figure out the answer to the problem. In this situation.

It takes those about 35 minutes to walk to the Market Street bus stop.m. Sample problem: Ali and his father are going to the Athletic Club to play in a basketball tournament. It leaves Market Street at 6:30 p.m. Schedule Bus Stop Time Market Street 3:00 Mini Mall 3:10 Athletic Club 3:32 Time 6:30 6:40 7:02 Time 7:00 7:10 7:32 Solution: We can work backward to solve this problem.An example of this is when we are trying to figure out how much money we started with at the beginning of the day.m. We can use the bus schedule given. Think: A bus arrives at the Athletic Club at 7:02 p. Start by finding the last bus that can arrive at the Athletic Club before 7:30 p. if we know how much money we have at the end of the day and all of the transactions we made during the day.m. The game starts at 7:30 p. 17 . Which bus should they leave home? Bus Route p.m.

m.m.Then find the time Ali and his father need to leave home. Then compare the number of symbols for each age group. How could a newspaper display this data to show the age group that had the most people in the contest? Solution: Make the pictograph.m. They should take the 6:30 p. Elapsed time : 35 minutes -----. Think: End time : 6:30 p.Time to walk to bus stop Start time : 5:55 p. 18 . San Francisco.m. hosts the Aquatic Beach Sandcastle Competition. California. (x) Make a graph Each year. bus and leave home by 5:55 p.

Each part of Polya's reflections have great bearing on the daily job of information problem solving. they are thought processes that need to be modeled 19 . As such. Polya spelled out the thought processes of a problem solver step by step. So more participants were 16 years and older than any other age group. The bold face segment following each step is a summary for the reference process. Question 2 Three non-routine and the solution using the Polya’s strategies and they have an alternative method to solve them.The age group 16 and up has the most symbols.

You may be obliged to consider auxiliary problems if an immediate connection cannot be found. library users. and inculcated in. What is the unknown? What are the data? What is the condition? Is it possible to satisfy the condition? Is the condition sufficient to determine the unknown? Or is it insufficient? Or redundant? Or contradictory? • • Draw a figure. • Have you seen it before? Or have you seen the same problem in a slightly different form? 20 .for. Can you write them down? DEVISING A PLAN • Second. Introduce suitable notation. You should obtain eventually a plan of the solution. Separate the various parts of the condition. Problem solving process has common elements across domains: UNDERSTANDING THE PROBLEM • • • First. Find the connection between the data and the unknown. You have to understand the problem.

how can it vary? Could you derive something useful from the data? Could you think of other data appropriate to determine the unknown? Could you change the unknown or data. how far is the unknown then determined. Could you use it? Could you use its result? Could you use its method? Should you introduce some auxiliary element in order to make its use possible? • Could you restate the problem? Could you restate it still differently? Go back to definitions. or both if necessary. so that the new unknown and the new data are nearer to each other? • Did you use all the data? Did you use the whole condition? Have you taken into account all essential notions involved in the problem? CARRYING OUT THE PLAN 21 . • If you cannot solve the proposed problem try to solve first some related problem. • Here is a problem related to yours and solved before. Could you imagine a more accessible related problem? A more general problem? A more special problem? An analogous problem? Could you solve a part of the problem? Keep only a part of the condition. drop the other part.• Do you know a related problem? Do you know a theorem that could be useful? • Look at the unknown! And try to think of a familiar problem having the same or a similar unknown.

for some other problem? Fourth. check each step. Carrying out your plan of the solution. Carry out your plan. Can you see clearly that the step is correct? Can you prove that it is correct? LOOKING BACK • • • glance? • Can you use the result. This is particularly true in problem solving. or the method.• • Third. Examine the solution obtained. Can you check the result? Can you check the argument? Can you derive the solution differently? Can you see it at a Sample question 1 Strategy: Draw a diagram It has often been said that a picture is worth a thousand words. The following problem is a non geometric 22 . drawing often provides the insight necessary to solve a problem. In geometry.

paper to measure something of exactly 6 in. Problem: Amin has a single sheet of 8 ½-by-11in. to get 6 in. Devising a plan A natural thing to ask is what combinations of lengths can be made from the two given lengths? We could fold to halve the lengths. He needs to measure exactly 6 in. 2 1/8 in.. 11 – 8 ½ = 2 ½ 8½-2½=6 23 . For example. consider how to obtain 6 from 8 ½ and 11. There are the two edge lengths with which to work. Can he do it using the sheet paper? Understanding the problem The problem is to use only an 8 ½-by-11 in. means by using act it out strategy. and so on.. and 11 in.problem that can be solved by drawing a diagram or could be done using a piece of paper. 5 ½ in. that appear unhelpful. paper.. Another idea is to consider other folds that could be used to combine 8 ½ in. but this would lead to such fractional lengths as 4 ¼ in.

or 6 in. then we could obtain the desired result of 6.2 ½. With the fold in figure. lengths is to draw a diagram. Carrying out the plan By folding the paper as shown by the arrows in figure below. One strategy to investigate how to obtain 2 ½ in. we also can act it out and fold the paper. and 8 ½ in. An entirely different way to solve the problem is possible if have more than one sheet of paper. we obtain 8 ½ . we obtain a length of 11 – 8 1/2. drawing a diagram showing the folds of the paper combines notions of geometry and gives a way to fold a square from a rectangle. Looking back Though there are other ways to solve this problem. from the two given lengths and the ‘subtract’ the 2 ½ from 8 ½.If we could fold the paper to obtain 2 ½ in. 24 . we can obtain a length of 6 in. With the fold figure (c). or 2 ½ in. from the 11 in. Other than that.

Sample question 2 Strategy: Use a variable Problem: In a small town. three children deliver all the newspapers. and Chuan delivers 13 more than Abu. Abu delivers three times as many papers as Busu. If the 25 .

three children delivered a total of 496 papers. We translate the given information into equations as follows: Abu delivers three times as many papers as Busu Chuan delivers 13 more papers than Abu Total delivery is 496 : a = 3b : c = a + 13 : a + b + c =496 To reduce the number of variable. and c is the number of papers delivered by Abu. Busu and Chuan. respectively. how many papers does each deliver? Understanding the problem The problem asks for the number of papers that each child delivers. substitute 3b for a in the second and third equations: c = a + 13 a + b + c = 496 becomes c = 3b +13 becomes 3b + b + c = 496 26 . b. Devising a plan Let a. It gives information that compares the number of papers that each child delivers as well as the total numbers of papers delivered in the town.

27 . follow the original information. Carrying out the plan 3b + b + 3b + 13 = 496 7b + 13 = 496 7b = 483 b = 69 Thus a = 3b = (3 x 69) = 207. solve for b.Next. b = 69. b. make an equation in one variable. Abu delivers 207 papers. by using make a sentence. Also. and Chuan delivers 220 papers. start by using a = 207. Busu delivers 69 papers. and then find a and c. c = a + 13 = 207 + 13 = 220. Looking back To check the answers. by substituting 3b + 13 for c in the equation 3b + b + c = 496. and c = 220. So.

The second sentence. check and improve Problem: 28 . “Abu delivers three times as many papers as Busu” checks. “Chuan delivers 13 more papers than Abu” is true because 220 = 207 + 13 The information on the total delivery checks. Since 207 = 3 x 69. Sample question 3 Strategy: Guess. since 207 + 69 + 220 = 496.The information in the first sentence.

One day he counted 20 heads and 56 legs. We use guess and checks strategy.A farmer had some cows and ducks. How many cows and ducks did he have? Step 1: Understanding the problem How many the cows and the ducks that the farmer’s have? • • Cows have four legs Ducks have two legs Step 2: Devising a plan We make a plan to shows various combination of 20 ducks and cows and how many legs they have altogether. Step 3: Carrying out the plan Numbers of cows 12 11 10 9 Numbers of ducks 12 9 10 11 Numbers of legs 80 + 24 = 104 44 + 18 = 62 40 + 20 = 60 36 + 22 = 58 29 .

a = 20 – b ----------------------------------(iii) Replace (iii) into (i). 2(20-b) + 4b = 56 40 .8 Step 4: Looking back 12 32 + 24 = 56 Checks for the answers by using a variable Lets a = duck.8 =12 30 . a = 20 . b = cow 2a + 4b = 56 --------------------------------(i) a + b = 20 -----------------------------------(ii) From (ii).2b + 4b = 56 2b = 16 b=8 Replace b = 8 into (iii).

we find our group which is Syaza Yasmin. 31 . the answer 8 cows and 12 ducks are correct. Nurzehan and Hasnurfarisha.Therefore. We divided our jobs to three persons. After the briefing about the task. REFLECTION We received this task about Strategic Problem Solving in Basic Mathematics by our lecturer. All of us must search any strategies in Polya’s Problem Solving. Puan Azizan Yeop Zaharie on 5 March 2007.

There is four easy steps in Polya’s Problem solving which is step one. Student did not facing any difficulties when solve any problem in Mathematics. These four step usually used in mathematic problem solving. we also must write up ten strategies or heuristics that used for problem solving. we can define that Polya spelled out the thought processes of a problem solver step by step.In this tack. step four. step three. devising a plan. these steps were commonly used 32 . So. library users. understanding the problem. As such. carrying out the plan. we find that there are so easily to solve a mathematical problem. The bold face segment following each step is a summary for the reference process. After did this task. step two. Other than that. Actually. looking back. By first time learning Problem Solving in our class. By using Problem Solving Strategies. When we using this problem solving. we can see the steps one by one and the step are regular and easy to understand for students. they are thought processes that need to be modeled for. we need to write up definition of problem solving. and inculcated in. Mathematics learning can becomes more fun. our perception of problem solving now as compared to previous experiences with solving problem. our work look more regular from using previous experiences. Each part of Polya's reflections has great bearing on the daily job of information problem solving. We also easy to understand because when we used strategies to solve the problem. compare and contrast characteristics of routine and non-routine problems and must give an example for that problem.

Teaching Mathematics A Sourcebook of Aids. Malestsky (1970). Without all of you. REFERENCES Max A. Prentice – Hall 33 . we faced many difficulties and problems during doing this task. Sobel.for us and other students. but we did not know what the process is called by. Polya’s problem solving makes the mathematic problem easier to solve. Thanks very much from us. Finally. Thanks very much. Activities and Strategies. thanks very much to everyone was helping us in process doing this assignment especially to Puan Azizan Yeop Zaharie. Evan M. other lecturers. friends and whose were helps us. Second Education.

A Problem Solving Approach to Mathematics. Mathematics Level 5. McGraw-Hill School Division McGraw-Hill (2002). McGraw-Hill School Division 34 . Shlomo Libeskind (2004). Pearson Education McGraw-Hill (2002). Mathematics Level 9.Rick Billstein.

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