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Knowing the question is more important than knowing what details you have. Only when you know the question you are answering and what you need in order to answer it can you then find the right details to answer it correctly.
And not just in the “I’m emotionally tired” kind of painful. If you don’t have the equation, it’s hard to solve it.
We’re talking about the “my head hurts, I’m exhausted, that took too much work, I don’t know what’s next, I’m emotionally tired” kind of painful. That means you have a few steps before you can actually solve your math word problem. You don’t have to figure everything out at this point – just give the problem a nice handshake.
Well-defined problems allow for more initial planning than ill-defined problems.
Solving problems sometimes involves dealing with pragmatics, the way that context contributes to meaning, and semantics, the interpretation of the problem.
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.
After discovering what’s being asked of you – the length of the ladder – you realize that the Pythagorean Theorem is what you’ll need to solve it. Now you can simply fill in the equation with what you have already been given. Math word problems are notorious for giving you too many details.
This means our final question needed to solve this math word problem will be super easy. That’s why this step is the last of the three questions. Simply enter your values into your equation, and crank out the right answer by solving the problem. If you know what you’re looking for, your answer should be in the right units.
The ability to understand what the goal of the problem is, and what rules could be applied, represents the key to solving the problem.
Sometimes the problem requires abstract thinking or coming up with a creative solution.