There are four stages in solving a given problem. Each problem may involve one or more of the suggested strategies.

The four stages were developed by George Polya, a Hungarian mathematician. We also incorporate the Socratic Method which is a series of Q&A, to check one's critical thinking, logic and reasoning, as we seek to find any holes in the process.

Understanding the Problem

Read the problem carefully

List the details you know

Look for phrases

Pick out the important information

State the problem in your own words

Analyzing the Problem

Look for a pattern

Draw a picture

Use models or act out the problem

Make an organized list

Guess and test

State and solve an equation

Use logical reasoning

Consider a simpler form of the problem

Work the problem backward

Doing the Necessary Computations

Simplify any arithmetic expressions

Solve any algebraic equations

Use a calculator or computer as appropriate

Providing the Desired Results

Answer all questions

Provide all requested information

Be sure all results (solutions) are reasonable

Check all solutions

Look for extensions or generalizations of the solutions

State the problem and its solution in sentence form