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# Problem Solving Essay

1. How did you interpret the problem?

The first time I read the problem, I’ve interpreted it as a mental exercise to test how I can apply my problem-solving skills.  I saw the problem as something that needs a combination of strategy and logic to solve.  I’ve met a problem of a similar nature sometime ago.  Although it was of a different kind, the idea is the same.  This problem will turn out to be confusing at first, but once I’ll get a clearer picture of the sequence, then solving it will become possible.

1. What strategy did you use and how did you evaluate your progress?

At the start, I’ve used the trial and error method.  By picking a random animal, I was able to find a step-by-step process that solved the problem.  I was able to evaluate my progress by constantly checking that I have followed the given conditions and the attempts at crossing have not produced negative results.  By successfully transferring one animal from one bank to another, while the remaining two were compatible told me that the steps I was following were correct.

The first step I employed is to list down the given conditions in this problem.  These are:

1. i) dog and cat can’t be together; and ii) cat and mouse can’t be together.

Having those two sets of conditions, the next thing I did is to put the cat on the raft, leaving the dog and mouse on the riverbank.  That first attempt proved to be a failure because I don’t know yet how to make the raft return to the other side without an animal on it.  The next thing I tried is to load the dog and the cat on the raft together to see if nothing will happen to the cat.  The condition only said that the cat will get eaten if left on the riverbank with the dog. But on reading the problem again, it says that only one animal can ride on the raft.  After discovering that the raft will cross the river without an animal, solving the problem became easy.

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River Problem 2

The problem can be solved by first leaving the cat on the other side while the man goes back to pick the dog.  On his way back, he’ll bring the cat with him.  Upon reaching the bank, he’ll bring the mouse and leave the cat.  He will then deposit the mouse with the dog while he goes back to fetch the cat.

1. Did you encounter any obstacles while solving the problem?

Yes. The first obstacle that I’ve encountered is how to make one animal cross, leave it on the opposite bank, and bring the raft back to where the remaining animals are.  After I’ve found out that the raft can travel across the river without an animal on it, the problem became easier to solve.

1. Were you aware of this thought process as you worked through the problem?

Yes, I was aware of how my mind was processing these thoughts as I was working through the problem.  This is basically a logic exercise, which suggests that in order to properly assess the problem, it’s necessary that you’re aware of how your thought process is developing.

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