Math Solving: Need Skill

Sabtu, 07 Maret 2009

I will be talking about an important skill - the Skill to solve problems.
I will be discussing Polya's 4 - step process to solve problem. I will be using this problem as a case study : 5x -2 =3
1. Understand the problem i.e. you should know which quantity you are looking for: The problem above says solve an equation. I know if I have to solve an equation I must look for the value of the unknown. That is, I must find a way of making 'x' to 'stand' alone on one part (Left hand side or LHS) of the equation.
2. Devise a plan i.e. what skills can use to solve the problem: I know from my understanding of the question, I have to use the principle of making 'x' the subject of formula.
3. Carryout the plan: I now have to take action to solve the problem. I will add two to both sides to remove '-2' from the LHS of the equation.

i.e. 5x -2 = 3
5x -2 +2 = 3 +2
5x = 5

From my understanding of the question, only 'x' must remain on the LHS of the equation so I must find a way of removing '5' from 5x. So, I have to divide both sides by 5
5x = 5
x = 5 : 5
x = 1
4. Look back at your answer. After arriving at the final answer, I must check to see whether I have a reasonable answer. I only have to substitute x = 1 into the original equation (the problem).
6x - 2 = 4

6(1) -2 = 4

6 - 2 = 4

4 = 4

Since LHS = RHS, then my final answer is reasonable. This principle is very relevant if you truly desire to understand how to solve math problems.
I have what I call my RUTHS principle of solving problems.
R - Stands for "read the question"
U - stands for "understand the problem"
TH - stands for "think of a solution" - you must bring your thinking ability into play to solve the question.
S - Stands solve the question - ensure you write the correct answer to the solution. I have seen students who miss the answer at the final stage of solving a problem.

adapted from

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