The example below shows that the problem solving process is the same for puzzles (story problems) and for problems based on subject matter. Using a unified approach to problem solving that is valid across the curriculum removes an important barrier to learning and using mathematics efficiently and effectively.
Solving word problems in any subject that uses mathematical methods consists of satisfying several conditions simultaneously. Doing this consists of using elementary methods of solving simultaneous equations. As the solution comparison shown above demonstrates, this basic process is independent of subject. Common sense, reliable problem solving based on basic concepts inherent in mathematics, introduced at the pre-algebra level, would solve the important objectives expressed in the NCTM standards and those advanced by AAAS in project 2061, Bench Marks for Science Literacy.