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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,'' a concept 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.

Frank Starmer 2004-05-19