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A Problem Solving Framework. Based on the work of Heller & Heller University of Minnesota. The traditional “GUESS” method. Givens - Identify the “given” information Unknown - Identify what is wanted Equation - Select equation for solution Solution - Solve equation for unknown

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A Problem Solving Framework

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A problem solving framework l.jpg

A Problem Solving Framework

Based on the work of

Heller & Heller

University of Minnesota


The traditional guess method l.jpg

The traditional “GUESS” method

  • Givens - Identify the “given” information

  • Unknown - Identify what is wanted

  • Equation - Select equation for solution

  • Solution - Solve equation for unknown

  • Survey - Make certain solution is realistic


Focus on the problem l.jpg

Focus on the Problem


Describe the physics l.jpg

Describe the Physics


Plan a solution l.jpg

Plan a Solution


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Execute the Plan


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Evaluate the Solution


Using the competent problem solver answer sheet example 1 l.jpg

Using the Competent Problem Solver Answer Sheet: Example 1

  • An airplane lands on a runway at 175mph. The plane uniformly slows to a stop over a distance of 4049ft. What is the average acceleration in meters/second squared? How many g’s does this represent?


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Using the Competent Problem Solver Answer Sheet: Example 2

  • A car’s initial mass and velocity are m and v respectively. A truck’s mass and velocity are M and -V respectively. Assuming a head-on collision where they stick together, what is the speed of the vehicles immediately after the collision? The truck is twice the mass of the car; the speed of the car is one-half that of the truck.


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Using the Competent Problem Solver Answer Sheet: Example 3

  • A toy rocket leaves the surface of the Earth with an acceleration of 35m/s2. After 1.3s, the rocket engine expires. Assuming no wind resistance as it coasts upward, how high does the rocket go?


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