# Heuristics? What's that?

**Heuristics** are general strategies through which a problem solver moves towards a solution as in Polya’s (1971) classic How to Solve It where he prescribed the following 4-phased process.

1. ** See**
What is the problem asking you to do? What are we trying to find out? Can we restate the problem?

2. ** Plan**
What do we know? What do we need to do to solve the problem? Do we need more information? Is there a hidden question? What strategies are useful?

3. ** Do**
Carry out the plan. Apply mathematical skills, concepts and strategies.

4. ** Check**
Compare with the original question. Does it make sense? Should we revise our plan to meet all the conditions?
Some common heuristics include the following:
1. Model method (Part-whole, comparison, before-after)
2. Draw a diagram or picture
3. Make a systematic list
4. Look for patterns
5. Guess and check
6. Simplify the problem
7. Work backwards

*Reference: Foong, P.Y. (2008). Problem Solving in Mathematics. In P.Y. Lee & N. H. Lee (Eds.), Teaching Primary School Mathematics: A Resource Book (pp. 62). Singapore: McGraw-Hill Education.*