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Topic: Problem Solving(1 or 3)
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David Scott Powell

Posts: 54
Registered: 12/6/04
Problem Solving(1 or 3)
Posted: Jul 10, 1995 6:12 PM
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Just thought I would add a few things to the mix on the standards and
problem solving. How about the paper by Thomas Schroeder and Frank Lester
called "Developing Understanding in Mathematics via Problem Solving"(from
New Directions for Elementary School Mathematics). In it there is
discribed three different approaches to problem solving. 1. Teaching
about problem solving. This is pretty much looking at Polya's model of
problem solving(understanding the problem, devising a plan, carrying out
the plan and looking back). Students are taught to understand and
recognize the phases they go through when solving a problem(as expert
problem solvers use according to polya). Typically they are taught
"heuristics" or "strategies" from which they can choose when they solve
math problems. Some of the strategies typically taught include looking for
patterns, solving simpler problems and working backward. Sometimes
teaching about problem solving actually includes actual problems, but it
always involves a great deal of explicit discussion and teaching about how
problems are solved.
When we say problem solving this is usually what people are
thinking of. A sort of loose algorithmic guide to follow. Is this what
the standards are talking about? How many of us have used this when
teaching word problems in algebra?


Scott Powell
University of Hawaii
University Lab school
Honolulu, HI. 96822

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