Heather Cooke's Success with Mathematics, 2003
Pin down your fleeting and ephemeral thoughts and possibilities.
Stabilize them: "What do I know?" "What do I want?" "I wonder if ...." "Maybe ...?"
Writing them down helps you clarify them,
And it affords you an easier access to them again later.
page 99, 101
Wait before you draw/sketch.
Wait before you have formed an image in your mind.
page 101, 103
Try an example to detect a pattern.
Try something smaller, simpler, more restricted, more special, or partial or auxiliary.
Vary many aspects to get a sense of the original question.
Vary many aspects to recognize variants in future.
e.g. What aspects can be changed?
What is the range/scope of variation?
In what ways can a given aspect be changed?
- Ask "Why stuck?" What do you already know? What do you still want? Can you bridge between the known and the unknown/wanted?
- Simplify: Break it down. Substitute simpler/easier words or numbers.
- What else do you think you need? kind of information? from of information?
- Say it out loud or talk to a toy.
- Use the given/worked solution a bit.
- Take a break, do something very different.
- Skip, later studies may help.
- After you have solved something that got you stuck for a while, do post-mortem.
1.What helped to get you going again?
2.What led you to getting stuck in the first place?
By Matt Bardin and Susan Fine, 2005.
They suggest walking through the open door, swiftly and with confidence. "The open door" is a metaphor for those "pieces of the puzzle that make sense" to you right now. You should try them one at a time, and do only what comes easily to you.