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Recognizing the various components of a problem or decision can be a helpful first step.
This diagram shows some common terminology of different aspects of problems and the problem solving process.
The problem complexity spectrum illustrates several ways to view problem complexity.
To me, the most critical of the common themes is that as social complexity—the number and diversity of people involved—increases, problem complexity increases.Being aware of a problem’s characteristics can avoid this trap.I’ve found it helpful, when learning new concepts, to think of a line defining a polarity with a range of values, then estimating where a given situation falls along that line.In fact, in some cases it may not even be a picture, just a visual representation of the information. The point is to help you solve the math problem, not to win an art award. These word problems could be used with grades 2-4 and include a page that specifically states, “Draw a picture…” and then another page of problems were it would be useful to draw a picture, but it is not explicitly stated.The goal is to get students used to organizing the information in a meaningful way to help them better think about and/or solve the problem. Do you use this problem solving strategy or encourage your students to try it? Here are the other articles in this series on problem solving: If you enjoyed this post, you will love being apart of the Math Geek Mama community!I believe it is because seeing a visual representation of the problem can put things in perspective, help organize the information, and enable students to make connections that may not have been otherwise seen.So while I know that not everyone is a visual learner, I believe this is still an important and helpful problem solving strategy.Wading through everything you’re given and making sense of what’s important can be easier when you draw a picture!It’s also incredibly important to draw a picture when working on right triangle trig problems.There is a tendency to approach all problems as simple, or to simplify complex ones to tame them.When simplistic or authoritarian solutions are applied to complex problems, they just get worse.