Saturday, July 2, 2016

What is problem solving? How do you approach problem solving?

Sorry, am I suddenly in that shitty class with bayrak?  What is problem solving?  It's solving a fucking problem.  Do you need a definition of the words?

according to google problem solving is "the process of finding solutions to difficult or complex issues."

Problem is "a matter or situation regarded as unwelcome or harmful and needing to be dealt with and overcome." or "an inquiry starting from given conditions to investigate or demonstrate a fact, result, or law."

to solve is "find an answer to, explanation for, or means of effectively dealing with (a problem or mystery)."

Anyway.  Problem solving is solving a problem.  Finding a solution to a problem.  In math, finding THE solution.

How do I approach problem solving?  IDFK.  Um. I ask google.  Or I look in the relevant math book if I have one.  Solving engineering problems I think comes down to experience.  Maybe.  How did I think of repairing the blinds with tape?  I don't remember.  I remember about the coaster holder.  I first thought of a rubber band but I thought it would be too easy for them to roll over it.  I thought it needed something taller but then it would have to be looser to make room for the coasters and I thought of the headband thing.  I needed experience to even think of rubber bands and headbands.  I also needed supplies.  I don't remember exactly how the phone case came to me either.  Sometimes I have to think and sometimes things just pop into my head.

I don't really remember solving math problems but I remember that I did, and I remember thinking that I relied on experience.  I tried things that had worked on similar problems before.  Or I just tried random things if nothing seemed to fit, until it led somewhere familiar.  If it takes too long, where "too long" is subjective, look it up, and after a while give up.

1 comment:

  1. According to google, problem solving is "the process of finding solutions to difficult or complex issues."

    A problem is "a matter or situation regarded as unwelcome or harmful and needing to be dealt with and overcome." or "an inquiry starting from given conditions to investigate or demonstrate a fact, result, or law."

    To solve is "to find an answer to, explanation for, or means of effectively dealing with (a problem or mystery)."

    In math, problem solving means finding THE one and only solution. (The solution could be something like "no solution" or "many solutions", but the entire "solution set" can also be thought of as the "solution" to the problem.)

    How do I approach problem solving? Depending on the type of problem, I might start by researching it online or looking in a relevant book. Solving problems often depends on personal experience with similar problems. Sometimes it seems like solutions just come to me, although that intuition must come from past experience. For example, the Venetian blinds in our living room were broken such that the part of the blind that was being held by the hook to hold the blind up broke off, and I had the idea to wrap several layers of tape around them to take the place of the missing plastic. At first I put the tape over where the hole was supposed to be and then tried to poke a hole in the tape for the hook to go into; but that just made the tape get all torn up. So then I had the idea to put the tape up higher on the blind, such that the tape formed only the TOP of the hole and then I cut off the excess tape that was sticking up off the top of the blind, and that solution has worked for the last three years. I don't know why I even thought of tape in the first place, or how I thought of the second idea of how to use the tape, except that I'm familiar with tape. There was another problem where we had a holder for coasters we didn't have anymore and we had some new round coasters that didn't have a holder. The round ones all fit into the old holder if they were put in sideways, but then they would just roll off the holder, so they needed something to create two more "walls" to hold them in. I first thought of a rubber band but I thought it would be too easy for them to roll over it. I thought it needed something taller but then it would have to be looser to make room for the coasters and I thought of some little headbands that I had. That worked and we've been using that "altered" coaster holder for a year. I needed experience to even think of rubber bands and headbands. I also needed supplies. After the tape worked on the blinds, I think that inspired me to use tape for more things. My mom needed a case for her phone so it wouldn't pocket dial, so I made a case shaped exactly right for her phone out of index cards and packing tape. It's completely covered in tape so it's fairly water-resistant, and the index cards cover the phone screen so it can't open any apps.

    //////this paragraph is terrible///////////Although these examples are not math problems, per se, the problem solving skills used in math are applicable to these situations. As per the definition that I started with, I found a means of dealing with an unwelcome situation by applying logic and reasoning skills used in math.

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