Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Solve a Problem Skills

Solve a Problem
1.    Why Learn This Skill?
You have to solve problems almost every day Some problems are bigger than others, but most problems are easier to solve if you follow a set of steps. Knowing the steps to use can help you solve problems your whole life.

2.    Remember What You Have Read
The builders of the Great Pyramid at Giza had a big problem. The pharaoh Khufu had ordered a pyramid built that was to be larger than any ever made. It was to cover 13 acres and rise as high as a modern 36-story building. Mud bricks would not be strong enough, so the Great Pyramid was to be built of limestone blocks. The builders of the Great Pyramid had to move the huge blocks without pulleys or wheels. Wheel technology was still unknown to the ancient Egyptians during this time.

3. Understand the Process
No one knows exactly what steps the Egyptian builders followed to solve their problem. The fact that the Great Pyramid was built, however, proves that they did find a solution. Listed below are some steps you can follow to solve problems, whether large or small. Under each step is a brief description of how it would have related to the Egyptian builders' problem.

1- Identify the problem. The builders had to be able to raise huge blocks of stone to the top of the pyramid. Remember that pulleys and wheels were unknown to the Egyptians during this time.

2- Think of possible solutions.
a.    Workers could lift the stone blocks up each step of the pyramid.
b.    Workers could use rollers to move the blocks up ramps built on the side of the pyramid.

3- Compare the solutions, and choose the best one.
a.    Many workers would be needed to lift each block up one step at a time. This would be hard to do and would take much time.
b.    Fewer workers would be needed to move the blocks up ramps. By placing blocks on rollers, the job could be done more easily and in less time.

4- Plan a way to carry out the solution.
Temporary ramps could be built on each side of the pyramid. With four ramps, workers could move stones into place faster.

Try your solution, and think about how well it solves the problem. The solution the Egyptian builders chose solved the problem, because the Great Pyramid at Giza was built. It is still standing after 4,500 years.

4. Think and Apply
What if the Great Pyramid had to be built today? How might the problem the Egyptian builders faced be solved now? With a partner, brainstorm ways builders of today might solve the problem. Use the steps you just learned, and share your solution with your class.

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