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The Art and Craft of Problem Solving

Seminar Leader:
Dennis DeTurck


A seminar led by Dennis DeTurck, Professor of Mathematics, Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences

Problems are the life-blood of mathematics. From the most elementary level to the frontiers research,nothing teaches us more, or gives us more satisfaction, than finding the solution to a mathematical problem. And the only way to hone our problem-solving skills is practice, practice, practice.

Problems are different from exercises. The latter are important for developing skill, but a problem often seems mysterious and requires exploration, false starts, and occasional inspiration before it yields its solution.

In this seminar, we’ll look at problems from many parts of mathematics: arithmetic, geometry, algebra and beyond, and discuss and employ strategies for their solution. The goals are to gain facility and confidence with a variety of mathematical problems that can be brought into the classroom, and to have some fun while doing it.

Unit TitleAuthor


Problem Solving Strategies for Third Graders

Nicole Flores and Angela Han
Keywords: Critical thinking, Everyday Math, multiplication, subtraction

Understanding Number Sense for Fraction Success

Elizabeth Gourlis
Keywords: fractions, Math in Context, Ratio

Cultivate Your Creativity By Thinking Outside Of The Box

Carmen Kissoon-Ragoonanan
Keywords: brain teasers, mathematics, problem solving

Patterns Here, Patterns There, Patterns Popping Everywhere!

Tamar Magdovitz
Keywords: patterns, problem solving

Inter-disciplinary Exploration of Order: Looking Through the Commutative Property Lens

Nicole L. Padula
Keywords: algebra, Literature, mathematics, Science

Functional Gardens

Rudolph Reid
Keywords: algebra, equations, Graphs, order of operations, problem solving

The Easy Way to Calculate: The Art and Craft of Problem Solving

Krishan L. Wadhwa
Keywords: diagrams, mathematics, problem solving