Problem Solving Worksheet

Here is a worksheet to help you solve problems.

- Problem Solving Worksheet (M.S. Word format)
- Problem Solving Worksheet (pdf format)

How to use the worksheet

Name:, Date:, Problem ID: - these are all for your information

List knowns and unknowns:
Write down all the variables you know and don't know. Any number that is given in the problem should probably be labeled as a variable here. There may be other unlisted variables such as the local gravitational constant (g = 9.8 N/kg). You should also write down any variables for which you do not know the value.

Draw a Diagram
This could be anything here - it depends on the type of problem. If this is a force problem, you will most likely want to draw a free-body-diagram. If this is an acceleration problem, you can draw a motion diagram or a "before" and "after" diagram. You may need to draw more than one diagram here (such as if two free-body-diagrams are needed).

Identify the type of problem
As of chapter 3, there are only a few types of problems:
  • Unit conversion
  • Vector Addition
  • Forces in equilibrium
  • Forces with acceleration
  • Momentum
  • Momentum Principle
  • Kinematics

General Equation(s) for this type of problem
Again, there are only a few general equations so far. This should be one of the equations for the equation list.

Work the Problem
Be sure to clearly show your algebraic steps and include units. Check your answer, did you solve for the variable that you were looking for? Does it have the correct units? Does it have a reasonable value?