The Top-Down Approach to Problem Solving

An effective approach to stop struggling with textbook problems and finally start learning.

This method works! I’ve tested it for over 15 years of teaching Electrical and Computer Engineering.

What you’ll learn

  • That you were probably taught in school to solve problems backwards, which is the wrong way..
  • How to tackle problems with a much better chance to find an answer..
  • To come up with the right solution to Science, Engineering and Math problems..
  • To know exactly the next step at solving a textbook problem..
  • If you’re a teacher, you definitely want to add this to your curriculum to teach your students how to actually solve problems instead of imitating you..

Course Content

  • Introduction –> 6 lectures • 14min.
  • A Directed Acyclic Graph View of the Methods –> 3 lectures • 8min.
  • The Bottom-Up Approach: The way we were taught –> 3 lectures • 4min.
  • The Top-Down Approach: A Fool-Proof Technique –> 6 lectures • 10min.
  • [NEW] Wait! Bottom-Up isn’t that bad either –> 6 lectures • 9min.
  • Problem Boot Camp –> 2 lectures • 1min.
  • Electric Circuit Example –> 4 lectures • 15min.
  • [NEW] Construction Elevator Problem –> 5 lectures • 14min.
  • [NEW] The Monty Hall Problem –> 9 lectures • 20min.
  • [NEW] Instrumented Top-Down on a Simple Math Problem –> 9 lectures • 30min.
  • [NEW] Digital Storage Marketing Gimmicks Problem –> 6 lectures • 10min.
  • Problems for you to solve –> 2 lectures • 1min.
  • [NEW] Teaching STEM –> 9 lectures • 18min.
  • [NEW] Closing Remarks –> 4 lectures • 3min.

The Top-Down Approach to Problem Solving


This method works! I’ve tested it for over 15 years of teaching Electrical and Computer Engineering.

Once the students get the hang of this method, their Physics, Math and other STEM classes become much, much less of a challenge, so they can concentrate on solid learning.


Why should you take this course?

Because when it comes to textbook problem solving, you probably were taught to do it backwards! You probably were wrongly taught to mimic your teachers. Answer these questions to see the problem:

  • Can you always produce the answer to the problems that are presented to you?
  • While solving a textbook problem on your own, have you gotten to the point where you don’t know what to do next?
  • In class, have you found yourself asking “How did the teacher come up with that step?” or “How did the teacher know we had to use that equation?” or “How was I supposed to know that?” ?
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