The Thayer Problem Solving Cycle was developed by Dr. John P. Collier at Dartmouth College as a method for teaching the scientific method to introductory Engineering Students. In the years since it has been revised and improved and is now used in colleges around the world. In 1990 a summer course, "Engineering Concepts for the High School Classroom", was first offered in the summer at Dartmouth's Thayer School of Engineering. As a result, the Thayer Problem Solving Cycle is now taught in many high schools across the United States. The Honors Physics and Advanced Placement Physics students at Charlotte Country Day School have been using the Problem Solving Cycle since 1995.
This Problem Solving Cycle divides the problem-solving process into several distinct and repeatable steps. Click on each step to see an Example of the Thayer Problem Solving Cycle in action:
Choose a Problem
Redefine the Problem
List Constraints and Specifications
Brainstorm Potential Solutions
Evaluate Potential Solutions Using a Matrix or Series of Matrices
Choose the Best Solution
Do your own!