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Your Library: Problem Solving

Competitions being run by the library
Why are problem solving skill important?
Practically everything we do relies on our problem-solving abilities.
Every time we encounter a situation, whether it is one we are familiar with or not, we have a choice as to how we will respond.
Some situations call for a relatively speedy response, while others may require a more thoughtful approach.
If it is a situation we are familiar with then our response will most likely be influenced with how we previously responded.
Problem solving skills encourages creativity, which is key to success both in their college work and then later on in life.
What is the "The Problem With Problem Solving"?
We created "The Problem With Problem Solving" as we it was identified that our learners would benefit from the opportunity to improve their problem-solving abilities in a fun and interesting fashion outside the classroom.
It is open to every member of the college community who wishes to pit their wits against the wide range of challenging problems.
One of the most important considerations we had when setting the group up is that it was to enjoyable and fun for those who are taking part.
The focus was on encouraging and rewarding those taking part to think about the problems and examine how there may alternate solutions, rather than getting a "right" answer.
Is it not just a rebranded Maths club?
I guess that would be a justifiable claim to make, however problem solving can be broken down into four core elements (often known as Polya's Problem Solving Process)
1) identify what the problem is.
2) consider possible solutions.
3) try and solve the problem.
4) reflect on what went right or wrong.
"The Art of Problem Solving" is not about individual learners tackling problems, but rather encouraging their creative thinking and problem solving techniques in a positive and supportive environment.
Participants are encouraged to take part knowing there was will be no evaluation or assessment. Some of the tasks and puzzles had a single solution, while others have been selected because they can be solved in a number of ways.
Collaboration between learners is actively encouraged and rewards for perseverance and the development of skills takes priority over those for just getting the correct answer.
What sort of problems have to be solved?
All the activities selected require participants to use critical thinking skills to solve the puzzles, which have been selected to sharpen reasoning skills and hone decision-making.
Most of the activities include so far have been logical and mechanical:
Recreate the shaded shape using all 7 tanagram pieces.
A logical puzzle consisting of seven flat polygons which can be positioned in a certain way to create a square.
If positioned in different configurations they can also resemble various objects.
Peg Solitaire
By leaping over a peg to remove it, leave a single peg in the middle space.
The aim to leave as few pegs on the board by removing the other pegs by leaf-frogging them.
To win the game you should complete the board by leaving a solitary peg in the central space.
There are many alternate board layouts, we used the English version.
Jumping frogs
Move the frogs so their positions are reversed.
This requires two sets of counters (the frogs) on opposite sites of a line to switched positions.
The counters can only move towards the opposite side by either moving 1 space or leap over an opposite counter.
While it is normal to have two sets of 3 frogs in a grid of 7 squares, you can add additional frogs to both sides.
Matchstick puzzles
Remove 4 sticks to leave 5 squares.
Matchstick puzzles require the rearrangement of sticks to change the original configuration to another.
The problem is usually presented as: "move/remove "x" sticks to make "y" squares/triangles.
Sometimes the problem can be presented as an incorrect equation where sticks need to be moved to make it correct.
Pyramid Flip
By moving only 3 counters make the pyramid face the opposite direction.
This is a perceptual puzzle where counters are arranged in rows of 4,3,2 and 1 to form a pyramid.
The task is to turn the pyramid of counters upside down by moving just three of the counters.
Counting shapes
How many triangles are there in the first image?
Triangles, Squares and other shapes can be drawn with intersecting lines.
These additional lines create smaller and larger shapes which can increase the number of visible shapes.
Everyone is more than welcome to come along and give the puzzels and games a try.
Find us:
in the Skills Hub on the second floor of the David Hockney Building.
Monday 12-1
Wednesday 12-1
Friday 12-1
in the Success Center (0.06) at Trinity Green.
Thursday 11-12
Friday 11-12