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Problem-solving is the core of a service-based economy.
Problem solving requires thinking and thinking is best accomplished
within some frame of reference which we call scaffolding. We have
found that some educators are beginning to realize the importance of
scaffolding in the process of critical thinking, but we have found
very little about identifying individual components of the scaffolding.
We believe (actually assert) that main ideas, i.e. the underlying
theme of some process or activity, is a piece of scaffolding.
Model building is a means for focusing on and identifying ``main ideas,''
that promotes efficient problem solving and
is becoming more and more vital in our world. Thus, before we
explain why one would want to create models, let us first explain the
significance of main ideas.