and read each step in your game plan carefully, making any additions as required, BEFORE you continue implementing the game plan. You can check whether your solution seems reasonable in lots of ways, here are a few: Check that chemical equations are correctly balanced. If you find there are gaps in your game plan, things you find you still need but haven't included, it's time to Pause! Go back to the start of the problem solving process! One of the most common mistakes students make on exam papers is that they incorrectly, or neglect to, convert units resulting in an answer that is out by orders of magnitude (factors of 10). If so, write this into the appropriate step: If you have prepared a good game plan above, all you should have to do is follow each step you have written.
Step 2: Think about how your unknown (the thing you need to find) is related to the information you have been given by the scientific principle(s) you have decided on.
Step 1: Underneath the list of data you have already written down, write down a You can always add more steps later if you need to, or ignore ones that you don't use.
Footnotes: (1) This approach is based on Polya's approach to problem solving in maths, which I always think of as a 'Weapon of Maths Deconstruction', but is a good general approach to problem solving.
State your solution to the problem by writing it down. If, however, there is some doubt about the value, or quality, of your response after going through the checks above, you should STOP here and start the problem solving process again, from the beginning, with step 1.
You will find a 1 page template (pdf) to use for problem solving here.
All AUS-e-TUTE's tutorials use this heuristic "stopgops" procedure to solve problems.
, for example, do you need to use the Periodic Table to find relative atomic masses?
How the unknown is related to the knowns given in the question will determine what you write next to each number in your list of steps.
When you complete the last step in your game plan, you should be looking at the solution to the problem. Step 1: Have you actually answered the question that was asked? Check this by asking yourself this question, "If I gave my solution to the problem to someone who had not read the problem, could they guess what question had been asked? If you rearranged a formula, check that you did this correctly, for example, if c=n/V then V=n/c Check that you have used the correct units and that the units used are all consistent.
Substitute values into equations as you go, step by step, and calculate each value as it appears. Before you call this problem "finished" and move onto the next problem, take some time to think about your solution in relation to the question that was asked. Does your solution provide an answer to the question that was asked? Check that you have used the correct stoichiometric (mole) ratio Check that you used the correct formula (equation) in each calculation.