## Help to introduce meaningful

problem solving in our schools.

Computer word processors are widely used for writing. Surprisingly, problem solving continues
to be done using paper and pencil.
## Word Problems

A word problem requests a result subject to various conditions that must be simultaneously
satisfied.
Solution of a word problem then consists of solving a set of simultaneous equations.
This is the "problem to find" described by Polya (See: *How To Solve It *, G. Polya, Princeton University Press, 1945).
The methods of solving simultaneous equation is quite well established. The definitive work was done by Leibnitz (1646-1716). If the
number of equations is small, less than four or five for example, a simple and convenient
process is solving by the process of elimination.
Word problems are frequently used in courses for the purpose of exercising in
the subject matter of the course and exercise in using mathematical tools. Many practical
every day problems are word problems.

Solving word problems is a simple, straightforward process. It is the communication
of the solution effectively to one's self and others which is challenging. Mathematics
provides a language through which the communication can be done. There is an urgent need to include mathematics and problems solving in the pre-college curriculum.

It is widely asserted that problem solving and using mathematics require quite
different logical processes than are used in other endeavors. This fallacy is
the principle cause of the perceived difficulty of mathematics and
problem solving. This false perception is a cultural thing that is propagated from generation to
generation. Introduction of problem solving in pre-college education, particularly in mathematics,
could help rectify this situation. Current (1998) problem solving teaching materials do not address
problem solving in a meaningful manner. These page provide the needed problem solving resources.

Copyright 1995 Howard C. McAllister