Revisiting the Introductory Challenge


  • Reread the scenario involving Sam from the Introductory Challenge.
  • Then answer the three questions below, either alone or with a group.


  • Of the four steps in Polya’s problem-solving method, which steps did Sam do naturally in his think aloud with Ms. Polly? Which step(s) did he not do?
  • After going through this unit, how might you get Sam to do the fourth step of Polya’s method? (Remember: Step 4 is to Look Back and Reflect.)
  • Knowing about Polya’s method—and knowing how to use it—allows you to have it as a tool in your educational toolkit. As Sam’s example shows, however, you still may need to be creative in choosing when and how to use this tool. Keeping in mind the educational situations that you work in—or the ones in which you intend to work in the future—what do you think would be the most effective way of using Polya’s method to support students’ learning of math?