PUZZLEBOXX 



GENERAL GUIDELINES to help you solve problems. There are various approaches you can use when trying to solve a problem. Which of these will be most useful depends on the type of problem you are faced with. Here are some general guidelines to help you.


What do we need to find out?  What do we know already?  What will we do?  Does our solution work?  
Is the solution a number?  a length?  a person?  an object?  an explanation?  something to be made?  something to do? What kind of answer would sound right?

Underline the main facts  or rewrite them  or put them in a table  or put them in a diagram. Does the question tell us anything else (perhaps in a roundabout way)?

We could discuss the problem  or rearrange information  or make a drawing. We could try a systematic approach  or trial and error. If there is a multiple choice, can we rule out any of the options?

Does our solution answer the problem? Have we done what we were asked? Could we explain what we did  and why?


Above all else  DON'T GIVE IN TOO EASILY On the other hand, if you reach the solution rather quickly, CHECK that you have actually solved the problem.


Depending on the type of problem you are trying to solve, there are various tricks and approaches you can try. Some of these are listed below. 



VISUAL Problems that have a strong visual element. 
WORDBASED Problems that are largely to do with words  or that require discussion. 
PRACTICAL Problems that require a handson approach. 
LOGICAL Problems that are predominantly mathematical or require a structured approach. 
LATERAL Problems that require a spark of insight to solve. 

Take a different look at the problem  turn it at an angle  or sideways  or upside down  or look at it from a different direction  or halfclose your eyes. Try drawing this type of problem. Sketch or doodle  it could help.

Make sure you have read the information properly  or listened carefully  and check that you understand all the words or phrases used. Discuss this type of problem. Discuss what the words mean. What do the words make you think about?

You may need to move things around a bit  jiggle things  alter the way they fit  or just be more careful. If you need to cut, fold or glue, make sure you do it precisely. Do not be afraid to fiddle.

Set things out in order  decide which parts must come first. Try making a list to solve this type of problem. You could start from the end ("What do we need to find out?") and work backwards ("What will help us find out?" "What do we know already that will help?").

This type of problem needs you to come up with lots of new ideas  so say the first thing that comes into your head (use "brainstorming" or "thought showers") and then check to see if it helps solve the problem. Sometimes, it can help to be silly (in a sensible kind of way).

