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Bold School: Blended Learning That Works » Problem Solving Teaching

Problem Solving Teaching

What & Why of Problem Solving Teaching
"Problem solving teaching isn't about letting student solve a lot of problems on their own in class, following the steps you set out for them. It's about recreating in your classroom the circumstances of encountering an authentic problem." - Kieschnick
Problem Solving Teaching is -
  • student driven
  • rigorous learning
  • productive struggle
  • opportunity to develop grit, perseverance, and resilience 
Problem solving teaching has a stellar .63 effect size (Hattie, 2015), but only when it is purposefully used to let kids struggle and develop tenacity along the way.
Problem Solving Teaching Process:
  • Model
  • Present
  • Discuss
  • Solve
  • Spaced
Model Problem Solving 
  • Actually model the process you go through when finding a solution
  • Come up with essential questions that must be answered to get started
  • Model how you evaluate & decide what resources to use
  • Articulate your thinking as you find the solution
Present Students with a New Problem
  • Similar to the problem you modeled, but not too similar
  • Don't want students just repeating your exact steps, just the process
  • Allow productive struggle - this develops perseverance, grit, & gumption
Have a Class Discussion
  • Lead a conversation about what information is needed before coming up with a solution
  • Support them as they come up with the essential questions that will lead them to a solution
  • Make sure to redirect students if they get off track
Set Them Free to Problem Solve
  • Let students go about the resource and tool finding process on their own
  • Let them decide how to solve the problem on their own
  • Be available to provide support and guidance, but not solutions
  • This is an excellent opportunity to integrate technology - whether it is researching, supporting the solution, or checking their solutions
Provide Three Rounds of Spaced Intervention
  • An initial intervention aimed at making sure students are on the right track
  • An intermediate intervention to scaffold for those students who are struggling
  • A final, summative intervention in the last 5 or 10 minutes of classs where we stop shy of providing a step-by-step solution, but instead discuss the problem-solving process as a class
Technology Tools that Support

Brainpop Educator
School, District, and Homeschool subscribers can set up My BrainPOP educator accounts. My BrainPOP accounts allow educators to create classes, assign work to students, and track student progress.

Browse hundreds of TED-Ed animations - short, award-winning videos that will spark the curiosity of your learners. You'll also find thousands of other video-based lessons organized by the subjects you teach.
minecraft in education logo
  • Minecraft: Education Edition is an open-world game that promotes creativity, collaboration, and problem-solving in an immersive environment where the only limit is your imagination
  • Educators visiting the Minecraft: Education Edition community site will find existing lesson plans on pixel art, grid paper to plan student work, and even a Minecraft world set up as a blank canvas for students to engage in creative expression. These materials are distributed to the students, and the crafting begins.
Historypin logo
Historypin is a place for people to share photos and stories, 
telling the histories of their local communities.
Tips for Teachers

Knowledge compass logo
Knowledge Compass

The Knowledge Compass is a wonderful way to help students formulate questions and begin the research process. The website provides several different types of questions to help students ask the right questions to guide their research. question infographic
Design Squad logo
Design Squad Global

Fun engineering problems encourage classroom competition, innovation
Watch the video located here:
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Office 365 Productivity Tools
Improve instruction and assessment with the built-in accessibility and power of Windows 10, including Office 365 with Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, and Teams.