Polya's "How to Solve It"
G. Polya, Princeton University Press, 1945
- What is the unknown?
- What are the data?
- What is the condition [constraint]?
Problem Solving Phases
- Understand the problem.
- Make a plan.
- Carry out the plan.
- Review and discuss the completed solution.
- Try to think of a familiar problem having the same or similar unknown.
- Imitate and practice.
- Draw a figure.
- Introduce suitable notation.
- If you cannot solve the proposed problem, first solve a related or simpler one,
e.g. by dropping some constraints or dealing with a subset of the data.
- Did you use all the data and conditions? If not, is there something wrong?
- Can you see clearly that a given step is correct? Better, can you prove it?
- Can you check the result by deriving it differently?
- Try restating the problem.
- Try working backward from the unknown toward the data.