Problem Solving - 1

Basic

Lesson Plan

Goal: In a given social situation or classroom activity, the student will identify and use one problem solving skill in 8 out of 10 observable opportunities, as measured by a teacher assessment tool.

Objectives:
1. Accept and generate a solution to solve a presented/given social problem.
2. Identify flexible behaviors that may help solve a given/presented social situation.
3. Generate new ideas to solve open-ended questions or assignments.

Definitions of Key Terms: Problem solving means finding solutions to difficult tasks or situations. It means defining what the problem is, telling what the cause of it is, thinking of solutions and using a solution.

Discussion Points:

  • Everyone has problems and the ability to solve them.
  • Everyone has tasks that are hard or seem impossible for them to do.
  • A problem is a question that needs to be answered or a situation that creates difficulty.
  • I can take steps to successfully solve problems.

Discuss with students what problem solving means.Review the discussion points with the students. Teachers may want to share their own examples of problem solving.

Possible activities to review the discussion point:

  • The group should form a circle. Ask a question and allow students to toss a bean bag to those who would like to answer the question.
  • Play tic-tac-toe by dividing the group into teams. Write discussion questions on a post-it note and place them on the tic-tac-toe grid. Allow a representative from the team to select a post-it note and as a team develop an answer to the question. If they get it right they may put their team's marker (x or o) on the grid.

Directions for In-Person or Virtual Learning: You have three options for students to complete this lesson.

  • Option 1: Print the Student Activity Sheet for each student. Complete the lesson as a group and assign the activity sheet to the students.
  • Option 2: Click the Student link to access the activity sheet electronically and post to your Learning Management System (if your school has one) or send the link to the student. The student may complete the activity sheet electronically within the classroom on a shared computer or device.
  • Option 3: Click the Student link to access the activity sheet electronically and send the link to the student. The student may access the link from a home computer, chromebook, iPad or other device.

Activity 1: Tower Building

Review the discussion points of problem solving. Divide students into groups. Give each group an equal amount of uncooked spaghetti and marshmallows. Ask the groups to use those materials to create a tower that stands upright without falling over. The goal is to see which group can build the highest tower within the time given. Share the goal and the time allotted for them to build. As groups build, monitor them closely to ensure that they work together.

Materials Needed:
  • Uncooked spaghetti
  • Marshmallows
  • Optional: Chart paper or interactive board

After the activity is complete discuss the following:

  • What was easy about building the tower?
  • What was easy about working together?
  • What was hard about building the tower?
  • What was hard about working together?
  • What problems did you face?
  • How did you solve these problems?

You may also want to record answers from the groups on chart paper, the chalkboard or a Smartboard. You can make a list of the problem solving strategies that groups used that proved to be successful.

Activity 2: Size of Problem

Review the discussion points and key points from activity 1. Review the strategies that groups used successfully from activity 1. Explain to students that it is important when we have a problem we cannot immediately solve on our own, we should think about the size of it. Discuss with students that some problems will be of a size that you can individually solve. While other problems may be too large and require you to think of others that could help.

Materials Needed:
  • Chart paper or interactive board
  • Student Activity Sheet A - 1 per group
  • Pencil for each group

Discuss student Activity Sheet A. Divide the class into groups. Allow groups time to complete the activity sheet together. After completion, ask students to share their choices and why.

Student Activity Sheet A

Think about how big or little the problem is.

Little: This is a little problem that I can easily move on from. May need a small amount of help from an adult or friend. Example of a little problem: I lost my pencil.

Medium: A medium size problem is one that may be harder to solve, but it isn’t the end of the world and tomorrow it might not even matter. It may require help from an adult. Example of a medium size problem: I am feeling sick.

Big: A big problem is one that tomorrow will still be a problem and could take a long time to solve. A lot of help will be needed from an adult. Example of a large size problem: I am hurt and have an injury.

Directions: As a group develop a list of examples for each problem size.

Activity 3: Who Can Help Me

Review the discussion points from previous activities. Review the ideas generated in previous activities of how a problem can be solved either individually or by others/group. Discuss how it is helpful to know a few ways to solve a problem, before you are faced with it. Share your ideas or strategies to use when facing a problem. Ask students to complete Student Activity Sheet B.

Materials Needed:
  • Student Activity Sheet B - 1 per student
  • Pencil for each student
  • Optional: Chart paper or interactive board

After students have completed the activity sheet, discuss their answers when finished. You may want to use chart paper, a chalkboard or interactive board to make a list of all their problem solving strategies.

Student Activity Sheet B

Directions: Draw or write about 3 people who can help you when you have a problem.

Lesson Extension: Listening Comprehension

Explain that a script is a form of writing; a dialogue between characters in a movie, play, or broadcast. Utilizing the Immersive Reader students should listen carefully as the teacher plays the example script below. Replay the script if needed. Allow students time to complete student Activity Sheet C and share out with the class.

After students have finished, allow those that want to share their comic do so or role play one of the example scripts.

Materials Needed:
  • Student Activity Sheet C - 1 per student
  • Pencil for each student

Example of effective problem solving:
Dr. Sally: Good afternoon Officer Dave. I have a huge problem. Can you help me?
Officer Dave: Sure what is wrong.
Dr. Sally: I fell on the steps and I think I broke my arm.
Officer Dave: That is a huge problem. Let’s get you to the hospital.

Student Activity Sheet C

Directions: Draw a comic to match the script you listened to.

Application Activity

In small groups, have the students create scripts demonstrating effective and ineffective problem solving. Use the script sheet to assist the groups in creating scripts.

Materials Needed:
  • Script sheet for each group
  • Pencil for each student

Have students record their scripts using the SiLAS software. Remind students to name and save their recordings. Premiere the movies with the group members at the end of each session.

Ideas for modifying this activity based on your students’ needs:

  • create a script as a class
  • pair or group students so that skill levels are varied and assign each a role or task that uses their skill
  • create the script by recording the dialog with a phone or other recording device.

Example of effective problem solving:
Dr. Sally: Good afternoon Officer Dave. I have a huge problem. Can you help me?
Officer Dave: Sure what is wrong.
Dr. Sally: I fell on the steps and I think I broke my arm.
Officer Dave: That is a huge problem. Let’s get you to the hospital.

Example of ineffective problem solving:
Dr. Sally: Good afternoon Officer Dave. I have a huge problem. Can you help me?
Officer Dave: Sure what is wrong.
Dr. Sally: I can’t find my pencil.
Officer Dave: Dr. Sally, that doesn’t really seem like a huge problem to me. That is a little problem. I bet if you look for it you will find it.

Topic Checkout

Review key points from previous activities and discussions. Allow students time to complete the Student Topic Checkout. Discuss answers as a group when finished.

Materials Needed:
  • Student Topic Checkout - 1 per student
  • Pencil for each student

Read Aloud Recommendations:

Completing a read aloud with students is a great way for them to see and learn social skills as well as incorporating reading skills. Below are some books that could be used to reinforce the concept. Read and discuss as appropriate for level and as time allows throughout the lesson.

  • Ira Sleeps Over by Bernard Waber
  • Dog Breath by Dav Pilkey
  • Oliver Button is a Sissy by Tomie dePaola
  • Harry the Dirty Dog by Gene Zion
  • The Little Engine by Watty Piper
  • Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse by Kevin Henkes
  • Sylvester and the Magic Pebble by William Steig
  • Enemy Pie by Derek Muson

Student Topic Checkout

Directions: Fill in the blanks with a word from the word bank.

Little Medium Big

A problem isn’t the end of the world and tomorrow won’t even matter. I may or may not need help from an adult.

A problem will still be a problem tomorrow. I will need a lot of help from an adult.

A problem is something that I can easily move on from. I may need a small amount of help from an adult.