5 Problem Solving Steps

5 Problem Solving Steps-47
Combining the two equations we came up with in our English-to-equation-translation, we get just such an equation: N_toys = ( W_total – W_towels ) / W_toy We can now turn this abstract solution (abstract in the sense of being written in terms of a bunch of variables) into a numerical solution simply by plugging in numerical values for all the variables on the right side of the equals sign.I should say that plugging in values isn't always necessary.Good luck in all your future problem solving endeavors!

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The bottom line is this: Don’t declare that you’re done simply because you got an answer.

The only reason you should declare that you’re done is because you understand the answer you got.

Slow down and take a minute to think about your result.

The fourth step in the problem solving process is closely related to the first.

If the phrase "word problem" sends a shiver down your spine, you're not alone.

A lot of people have trouble with so-called word problems in math.

The second step in solving word problems is turning the words into one or more mathematical expressions or equations.

In our case, we need to figure out how to write an equation that takes the current weight on a scale and gives us back the number of dog toys hidden on it. Well, let’s take the total weight on the scale, which we’ll call W_total, and subtract the weight of just the towels, which we’ll call W_towels.

This step will often entail going through the procedure outlined in the How to Solve an Equation episode.

Our goal is to solve for the total number of dog toys on the scale, N_toys.


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