Problem solving consists of using generic or ad hoc methods in an orderly manner to find solutions to problems.
Some of the problem-solving techniques developed and used in philosophy, artificial intelligence, computer science, engineering, mathematics, or medicine are related to mental problem-solving techniques studied in psychology.
The term problem solving means slightly different things depending on the discipline.
For instance, it is a mental process in psychology and a computerized process in computer science.
This has important implications for appropriate solution processes: the most important, complex problems society faces can only be solved through the combined wisdom of all the affected people.
The lower part of the diagram identifies some common solution approaches along the problem complexity continuum, and lays out some tools and methods in rough correlation.We instinctively recognize that problems range from simple to complex, and most of us don’t need help deciding how to solve simple problems.But the diversity of complex problems is vast, with widely varying characteristics.Many of the visual and interaction tools are described elsewhere on this website.A worksheet or graphic organizer might help you get a handle on a problem, or jump start your thinking about it.What are the critical factors which make a problem complex?And how should our solution process change for complex problems versus simple ones?Each week I send an email with fun and engaging math ideas, free resources and special offers.Join 108,000 readers as we help every child succeed and thrive in math! Whenever I am facing a word problem of any kind, my initial reaction is to draw a picture.Even if it is a fairly simple problem and I think I already know how to solve it (or even already know the answer), I will almost always : Maybe I’m drawn to this strategy because I’m such a great artist…no, that’s definitely not it!