Have students follow the 3-Steps Method to simplify the task of designing a deterministic finite automaton in order to further develop their problem solving skills.

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  • The 3-Steps Method gives students a process to follow when tackling a challenging problem.
    • This prevents them from feeling stumped or helpless when designing a DFA.
  • The 3-Step Method is as follows:
    1. Design Tests: Have students write two lists of words, a positive list containing words the automaton should accept and a negative list containing words the automaton should not accept.
    2. Design the Automaton: Have students design the initial state and then add new states as their test words require to progressively build the automaton.
    3. Testing: Have students test their automaton using the tests they designed in Step 1.
    4. Repeat the 3 steps as necessary.