# What Is Problem Solving In Mathematics

You may find that some of the information on the cards is irrelevant!

You may find that some of the information on the cards is irrelevant!We would love to see the letters that you write, so please send them in and describe how you tackled the activity.

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However an alternative interpretation, and one which NRICH aims to exemplify, is that of Polya (1945).

Problem solving in Polya's view is about engaging with real problems; guessing, discovering, and making sense of mathematics.

(Real problems don't have to be 'real world' applications, they can be within mathematics itself.

The main criterion is that they should be non-routine and new to the student.) Compared to the interpretation as a set of questions on a theme, Polya's is a much more challenging interpretation of problem solving for a teacher to come to terms with, but has the potential to be much more effective in developing young mathematicians who have an 'understanding of the world, the ability to reason mathematically, an appreciation of the beauty and power of mathematics and a sense of enjoyment and curiosity about the subject'.

Share the cards out between the members of the group.

In your group read through the cards and find the one that describes in more detail what you have to do.

The answers were, in my view, depressing, and I would be prepared to hazard a guess that they would be much the same ten years on.

If you ask mathematicians what maths is, they will usually answer something along the lines of ‘the study of patterns’.

It is available from The Association of Teachers of Mathematics Planning a School Trip is a totally different sort of problem for KS2 pupils.

They work in small groups to identify the information they need to organise an event, in this case a school trip.

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