This Four-Step Problem Solving Process has been proven to be an effective strategy to minimize the number of careless mistakes!
George Polya was a Hungarian mathematician who made fundamental contributions to combinatorics, number theory, numerical analysis and probability theory. He was known as the father of problem-solving as he outlined the problem-solving steps.
The four steps are:
- UNDERSTANDING THE PROBLEM
- DERIVING A PLAN
- CARRYING OUT THE PLAN
- LOOKING BACK
The 4th step, looking back, is very helpful in solving Mathematics problem and identify careless mistake if there is any. Unfortunately, it is not being emphasized in our Mathematics education.
Students shall check the results in the original problem, and also try to derive alternative method of finding the solution. They can also interpret the solution in terms of the original problem. Does your answer make sense? Is it reasonable? Students may find their mistakes if the answer does not suit the context of the questions.
It has been proven to be an effective strategy to minimize the number of careless mistakes!