Mathematics, you see, is not a spectator sport. [George Polya, How to Solve it]


Understand the problem:
Do you understand all the words used in the problem? Review them in ASULearn solutions, the ASULearn glossary, and the book, or ask me!
What are you asked to find or show?
Can you restate the problem in your own words?

Devise a plan and carry it out:
Polya mentions that there are many reasonable ways to solve problems. The skill at devising and carrying out an appropriate strategy is best learned by practicing and solving problems yourself. Strategies include
Look for a pattern
Draw a picture
Use a model
Consider special cases
Use a formula
Solve an equation
Guess and check
Be ingenious

Look back:
Much can be gained by taking the time to reflect and look back at what you have done, what worked, and what didn’t. Doing this will enable you to predict what strategy to use to solve future problems. Also look back to ensure that you have answered all parts of the question. Finally think about connections or extensions.