The A thru E Approach
to Problem Solving in Chemistry.

An Introduction

Dave Woodcock ©1996,2000
Okanagan University College

OUC Home Page Chem Home Page

Problem Solving

A method in outline.

A thru E Index

Problem Solving - A method in outline.

The skills of problem solving involve the skills of using our brains and although we perhaps think that we cannot improve on how we use our brains, in fact we can introduce some routine steps which may help us to think about a new problem or life situation.


PROBLEM SOLVING FOR SCIENCE STUDENTS.

Summary of a general approach to numeric (and perhaps non- numeric) problems.

  • STEP 1. ANALYSE.

    The aims of this step are:

    1. to understand the problem and to create a mental image of the problem.
    2. to extract the given data and to understand the nature of the unknown.
    3. to estimate an answer to the problem.

  • STEP 2. BRAINSTORM FOR A PLAN.

    At this step you should aim at finding relationships (equations) by which the unknown may be related to the known.

  • STEP 3. CALCULATE.

    At this step the route found in step 2 is used to calculate the solution.

  • STEP 4. DEFEND, BY CHECKING AND PRESENTING A SOLUTION.

    At this step the aim is to:

    1. make sure that the solution obtained in Step 3 is acceptable.
    2. present the solution in a reasonable format.

  • STEP 5. EVALUATE

    The problem is solved, a satisfactory solution has been presented: what has been learned ?


  • USE: The method for using this general approach is strictly linear:

    Step 1 before Step 2 before Step 3 before Step 4 before Step 5.


    Choose a letter above or back to introduction or on to last page: what's wrong with teachers

page upkeep: Dave.
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This page last modified on: Wednesday, 28 November, 2001