Discuss the factors affecting problem solving.

An effective solution of a problem is dependent upon a number of factors. These include:

Nature of the problem: A mathematical problem is a procedure, which requires you to discover which information is given, to rank the given points, to find what the problem asks you to do and then solve it. The given information should be clear and accurate so that all the children understand what has to be done. Problem solving is the achievement of a goal, either set by the problem solver or by others. Teaching via problem solving can be feasible only if children know the mathematical, procedures.

Otherwise, if students do not know how to solve procedural exercises, they will be very disappointed and they will not have the motivation to try and solve more difficult problems. Both finding a problem’s solution and the journey towards the solution are important. The correct answer matters a lot since in the future, students will be asked to take mathematics exams, for which they have to achieve a high mark. If the steps they follow are correct but still the answer is wrong, then they will not attain a good grade.

Degree of difference between the initial and the goal state: In such situations problem space is more disorganized and the operator is required to take more steps to reach to the solution.

Functional fixedness: Functional fixedness is the inability to realize that something known to have a particular use may also be used to perform other functions. When one is faced with a new problem, functional fixedness blocks one’s ability to use old tools in novel ways.

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