1.3.5 Problem Solving

Did you use a different method to approach this problem? It’s likely that you did. You might have used a similar method, but it probably wasn’t identical to any of the three solutions shown.

Depending on your previous experiences and how you initially take in a particular problem, the way you decide to begin will vary. For this activity, it would have been possible to solve it using algebra with a system of two equations in two variables.  Don’t worry if these ideas are new to you at the moment—remember you are here to learn. The methods presented here required no knowledge of formal mathematical techniques. Instead, the solutions discussed demanded the use of common sense and organization.

As you work through any problem, remember that there are usually alternative methods for reaching the solution. If you get stuck using your initial approach, try a different one. Keep in mind that using pictures and staying level-headed will carry you far, and most likely help you finish solving an exercise. So try not to panic!

1.3.6 Learning from the Activity