Abstract / Synopsis

In contrast to problem-solving procedures that are the “bricks and mortar” of demonstrations in mathematics textbooks, heuristics, defined by Polya as “the study of means and methods of problem solving”, are those mental actions that enable the practitioner to make progress when it is not clear how to solve problems directly. Yet, as essential as heuristic tools are, they tend not to be included in presentations in mathematics textbooks. The overarching problem can be understood in terms of students’ not developing productive means for engaging problems. A few mathematics problems are included to argue for the validity, if not the priority, of the need for the incorporation of heuristics along with problem-solving procedures as standard content in mathematics textbooks.



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