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Good problems

2012 February 12
by Hélène Martin

I was recently reading Polya’s How to Solve It  and came across this gem:

Good problems and mushrooms of certain kinds have something in common; they grow in clusters.

I guess I’ve always known that good problem writers recognize abstract qualities of problems and re-use them but this nice way Polya puts it has helped me take the time to recognize and exploit promising problem clusters.  It has greatly improved my assessment-writing process and as a bonus, when I come up with or find a problem I like, I get a craving for chanterelles.


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