Scientific Problem Solving

Scientific Problem Solving-48
This discussion of problem solving is structured around important findings from DBER that are consistent with prominent themes from the cognitive science literature, namely problem representation and the nature of the solution process.In the cases for which the findings apply to only a small number of problem domains or disciplines, their broader applicability to problem solving within the disciplines of interest here is an open question.This site uses cookies to improve performance by remembering that you are logged in when you go from page to page.

This discussion of problem solving is structured around important findings from DBER that are consistent with prominent themes from the cognitive science literature, namely problem representation and the nature of the solution process.In the cases for which the findings apply to only a small number of problem domains or disciplines, their broader applicability to problem solving within the disciplines of interest here is an open question.

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For example, what constitutes a better coffee cup, and how does one decide that a new cup design represents a big enough improvement over the status quo to declare the design finished?

Society’s most important problems are usually ill-defined in some way.

Researchers in numerous disciplines have drawn a distinction between well-defined and ill-defined problems (Hsu et al., 2004; Reitman, 1965).

Most of the problems students encounter in their science and engineering classes are well-defined, such as a mechanics word problem.

5 Problem Solving, Spatial Thinking, and the Use of Representations in Science and Engineering Chapter 4 explored students’ conceptual understanding in science and engineering, with the goal of helping students advance toward a more expert-like understanding.

Scientific Problem Solving

This chapter addresses how students use those understandings to solve problems, and how scientific representations, such as pictures, diagrams, graphs, maps, models, and simulations facilitate or impede students’ problem solving and understanding of science and engineering.

Consider two examples: (1) How can the rapid regrowth of human skin be promoted so that life-threatening infections in burn patients are prevented?

(2) How can affordable, alternative energy to power cars be generated, thereby limiting reliance on fossil fuels?

These are the kinds of problems students will have to solve after they graduate.

Students who have scant experience with ill-defined problems during their undergraduate education may be poorly prepared to grapple with the most significant problems in their fields.

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