Ideas and techniques to improve problem solving skills

In summary, the conversation discusses the challenges of problem solving in physics and the differences between problem solving in physics and math. The student expresses difficulty in approaching questions and seeks advice on improving their skills. The conversation also mentions the importance of understanding processes and practicing problem solving through puzzles and discussions.
  • #1
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Hey there

I’m currently in year 11 and I’m in physics. This year, we have been doing some basic math which relates to projectiles and conservation of momentum ect, it was pretty much just sub a whole bunch of knowns into a formula and solve for x or something, anyway, this term we have started work on energy. The year 12s work came back from panel and they said that the work being giving to them we too easy (even though many of them are a failing). Now our teachers are really pushing us to get better at problem solving.

I just don’t know how to approach some questions sometimes. I try to think, but I just can’t :cry: Also the thing is that the style we use in physics is totally different from Maths B because in Maths B, its just simple, read question, write down knows, rearrange or manipulate formulas in your favour and solve. But in physics, we aren’t given enough to solve the question simply by reading and re-reading questions, or putting them in formulas we have to look at where the units derive from and make up our own formulas. I know its possible, but sometimes, I just can’t see it.

Are there any ways or techniques to improve my problem solving skills, because I have a feeling that some things have been taken to a whole new level. But I can understand why our teacher is doing this, and my future goal is to become an engineer (chemical) and that's just pretty much just solving problems so I really would appreciate some assisstance.

Thanks in advance :wink:
 
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  • #2
In physics you are usually expected to understand the process, you are right. Your teachers are training you to be eventually able to solve problems which have no known solutions. Congratulations.

There are ways to improve problem-solving skills - google for "inquiry learning" and "critical analysis". But what it boils down to is doing lots of puzzles, and talk to people.

One trick is to trawl through the beginning physics questions here are see how far you can get answering them - see if you can follow the advise people are being given. You don't have to know the answer right away, you can work it out ... or get far enough the questioner can finish it for themselves. That's most of what the rest of us do anyway.
 

1. How can I improve my problem solving skills?

There are several techniques that can help improve problem solving skills. These include breaking down complex problems into smaller, more manageable parts, using creativity and critical thinking, seeking out different perspectives, and practicing problem solving regularly. Additionally, seeking out resources such as books, workshops, and online courses can also be beneficial.

2. Why is it important to have good problem solving skills?

Having good problem solving skills is crucial in both personal and professional life. It allows us to think critically, make effective decisions, and overcome challenges in various situations. It also helps us to become more adaptable and resilient in the face of unexpected problems.

3. Can problem solving skills be learned or are they innate?

While some people may have a natural inclination towards problem solving, it is a skill that can be learned and developed over time. With practice, anyone can improve their problem solving abilities and become more efficient at finding solutions.

4. Are there any specific techniques that can help with problem solving?

Yes, there are various techniques that can be applied to improve problem solving skills. Some common ones include brainstorming, mind mapping, root cause analysis, and the scientific method. It is important to experiment with different techniques and find what works best for you.

5. How can I apply problem solving skills to my daily life?

Problem solving skills can be applied to any aspect of life, whether it is in personal relationships, work, or hobbies. The key is to approach problems with a clear and logical mindset, break them down into smaller parts, and think creatively to find solutions. With practice, problem solving can become a natural part of your daily routine.

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