Routine and Non Routine Problems
Problems can be generally classified into routine and non routine problems.
A routine problem is one that merely requires us to apply some known procedures, usually involving arithmetic operations* to get the solution. An example of a routine problems are as follows:
“What is the weight of 5 bricks, while each of them weigh 1.2kg?”
Routine problem solving involves using at least one arithmetic operations and/or ratio to solve problems that are practical in nature.
* The meanings of the arithmetic operations (from website: http://io.uwinnipeg.ca/~jameis/New%20Pages/EYR23.html )
The arithmetic operations are mathematical models (symbolic representations/notational systems/sign systems) of certain situations. A model is a way of representing some feature of reality. It is a way of looking at something. Models are not true or false. They are simply useful or not useful for some purpose. We tend to view the world through models in order to make sense of it. The models we use provide us with lenses through which human behaviour and other phenomena are organized, examined, and evaluated. For example, a set of moral principles is a model of how human beings are supposed to behave. There are numerous models that pertain to teaching. Piaget’s model of child development is one example.
Non Routine Problems
A non routine problem is something unusual in which we do not know of any standard procedure for solving it. In such situations, we need to create a new procedure to solve the problem. Here is an example of non routine problem:
“Approximately how many hairs are there on your head?”