# 4 Step Problem Solving Process Plus, get practice tests, quizzes, and personalized coaching to help you succeed. In this lesson, we will discuss each step of the Polya process while working through the solution to a problem. At the end of the party there were only 5 cupcakes left. The first step of Polya's Process is to Understand the Problem.At the end of the lesson, you will have the opportunity to try more examples before taking your quiz. Some ways to tell if you really understand what is being asked is to: In our example, we can understand the problem by realizing that we don't need the information about the gender of the guests or the color of the cupcakes - that is irrelevant.All we really need to know is that we are being asked, 'How many cupcakes are left of the total that were made? Now that we understand the problem, we have to Devise a Plan to solve the problem.

If we put the people in a straight line and then count them saying hello to each other one at a time, we will again see that the final tally is 90 hellos. Remembering that they do not have to say hello to themselves may help you see why the answer can't be 100.

If you use these four steps when you approach any problem, be it math or otherwise, you will find your path to the solution much more direct and easy. Following this lesson, you should have the ability to: Did you know…

Step 3 - Carry out the plan Drawing the diagram of one person saying hello, we see that each person will have to say hello 9 times, thus there will be 10 people each saying hello 9 times. Finally, Step 4 - Check your work90 hellos might not make sense if there are 10 people; you might think the answer should have been 100.

Well, to check our work with a problem like this, we could set up a different diagram.

Some people think that you either can do it or you can't.

Contrary to that belief, it can be a learned trade.

12 36 = 48 and 48 - 5 = 43 That means that the number of cupcakes eaten is 43.

The final step in the process is very important, but many students skip it, feeling like they have an answer so they can move on now.

As mentioned above, I use Polya’s four steps to problem solving to show students how to solve word problems.

Just note that your math teacher or math book may word it a little differently, but you will see it all basically means the same thing.

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