Sometimes they don't want to switch seats and move away from their best friends, and sometimes they want to be the last one standing when we do an activity that has us sit down after our turn. Then we talked about how this might make everyone else feel and how it might affect our class community. We agreed that this was a problem because it did not make everyone feel welcome. Finally, I asked them for suggestions to solve the problem.
We have been working on problem solving all year. I started by teaching my students that solutions always need to be related, respectful, reasonable, and helpful. This is a challenge for students who often think of punishments before solutions. As we started talking about possible solutions to this problem, the first few solutions were not surprisingly more like punishments, such as, having the culprits sit out of future greetings and activities until they were being kind, or skipping offenders in the circle.
However, the more we talked, the more they began to consider ways to prevent the problem from even occurring. Eventually we settled on two possible preventative solutions: 1 they could come to the circle separately and choose a place to sit away from close friends so they wouldn't be tempted to resist moving. At this point, I told the class I would consider both solutions. It seems that I've taught them well about how to solve problems fairly because immediately one student suggested that I let the class vote.
It was hard to argue with her logic and truthfully both solutions were acceptable. So this morning we had a vote. I had the kids close their eyes and raise their hands. They voted to have assigned seats. One key aspect in problem solving is teaching students how to select, interpret, and use units and symbols. Emphasize the use of units whenever applicable. Develop a habit of using appropriate units and symbols yourself at all times.
All problems have some stated or implied constraints. Teach students to look for the words only, must, neglect, or assume to help identify the constraints. Criteria for success.
Help students to consider from the beginning what a logical type of answer would be. What characteristics will it possess? For example, a quantitative problem will require an answer in some form of numerical units e. Use this stage to ponder the problem. Ideally, students will develop a mental image of the problem at hand during this stage. Identify specific pieces of knowledge. Students need to determine by themselves the required background knowledge from illustrations, examples and problems covered in the course.
Collect information. Encourage students to collect pertinent information such as conversion factors, constants, and tables needed to solve the problem. Plan a solution Consider possible strategies. Often, the type of solution will be determined by the type of problem. Some common problem-solving strategies are: compute; simplify; use an equation; make a model, diagram, table, or chart; or work backwards.
Choose the best strategy. Help students to choose the best strategy by reminding them again what they are required to find or calculate. Carry out the plan Be patient. Most problems are not solved quickly or on the first attempt. In other cases, executing the solution may be the easiest step. Whether in school, work or in their social relationships, the ability to critically analyze a problem, map out all its elements and then prepare a workable solution is one of the most valuable skills one can acquire in life.
Educating your students about problem solving skills from an early age in school can be facilitated through classroom problem solving activities. Here are five classroom problem solving activities your students are sure to benefit from as well as enjoy doing: 1. Brainstorm bonanza Having your students create lists related to whatever you are currently studying can be a great way to help them to enrich their understanding of a topic while learning to problem-solve.
For example, if you are studying a historical, current or fictional event that did not turn out favorably, have your students brainstorm ways that the protagonist or participants could have created a different, more positive outcome.
They can brainstorm on paper individually or on a chalkboard or white board in front of the class. Problem-solving as a group Have your students create and decorate a medium-sized box with a slot in the top.
Once or twice a week, have a student draw one of the items from the box and read it aloud. Then have the class as a group figure out the ideal way the student can address the issue and hopefully solve it.
Unknown s. Encourage them to try a different strategy and keep trying. These strategies often ask students to collaborate, work on contextualized problems, and exhibit learning through speaking and presenting, instead of answering questions via paper and pencil.
Criteria for success.
Many teachers feel that student-centered instruction can lead to an element of chaos in their classroom that is not conducive to learning. How could you encourage the pupils in your class to have these skills at their fingertips? Use this stage to ponder the problem. Most problems are not solved quickly or on the first attempt. Students need to determine by themselves the required background knowledge from illustrations, examples and problems covered in the course. Other teachers prefer the class meeting process because it teaches other skills.
Teach within a specific context. Whether in school, work or in their social relationships, the ability to critically analyze a problem, map out all its elements and then prepare a workable solution is one of the most valuable skills one can acquire in life. Additionally, many assessment types lend themselves to teacher-centered learning, but do not transfer to student-centered classrooms.
Units and symbols. They voted to have assigned seats. Clue me in This fun detective game encourages problem-solving, critical thinking and cognitive development.
I could never have imagined such a positive reaction to the idea of assigned seats for class activities. Teachers are often afforded none of these advantages. Part 2: The Teacher's Role It is perhaps easy to underestimate the effect teacher behaviour can have on enabling problem solving in the classroom. Finally, I asked them for suggestions to solve the problem. Help students to consider from the beginning what a logical type of answer would be. An increased number of speculative responses.
Eventually we settled on two possible preventative solutions: 1 they could come to the circle separately and choose a place to sit away from close friends so they wouldn't be tempted to resist moving. For example, a quantitative problem will require an answer in some form of numerical units e. Love it! Instead of making one better than the other class meeting or one-on-one , let children choose which option they would prefer at the moment. After this, the student must venture a guess after each clue pulled until they guess correctly.
Fighting over whose turn it is to sit by the window in the car or bus. If the teacher's role is more of a 'guide on the side' rather than a 'sage on the stage', then asking probing questions is of key importance. However, the way in which we handle answers also requires some attention, which Jennie discusses in the above article too.
An increased number of speculative responses. From this point, pupils can work backwards to find the winning approach. Helping students identify their own problem solving errors is part of helping them develop effective problem solving skills.