Problem Solving - 3

Continued Growth

Lesson Plan

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

1. Generate and accept solutions to solve a presented social problem.
2. Label flexible behaviors that help solve a presented social problem.
3. Generate new ideas to solve open-ended questions and/or assignments.

Definitions of Key Terms: Problem solving is finding positive solutions to difficult problems or situations. It means defining what the problem is, identifying what the cause of it is, thinking of solutions and putting the solution in place.

Discussion Points:

  • Everyone has problems and the ability to solve them.
  • A problem is a question that needs to be answered or a situation that creates difficulty.
  • Problems can be successfully solved by taking the appropriate steps.
  • Most problems have more than one solution.

Review Discussion Points:

Possible activities to review the discussion points or use your own:

Think. Pair. Share: The teacher will pose questions related to the discussion points. Explain to students that the purpose of the activity is to think about the question and activate prior knowledge. The teacher will model the procedure to facilitate student understanding.

  • T (Think): Teacher begins by asking a specific question using the discussion topics.
  • P (Pair): Each student should be paired with another student, small group or work with a teacher. Pairs write brief answers on sticky notes or scrap paper.
  • S (Share): Students share their thinking with their partner. Teacher then leads a whole-group conversation using students’ answers.

SEL Categories Activity:

  • Ask students to create a list of words associated with the topic (give them 2-5 minutes to complete).
  • Once time is up, ask each student to share a word or thought from their list.
  • Other students must cross that word or thought off their list.
  • Continue the process until all words or thoughts have been listed.

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: Solve It!

Divide the class into small groups (two or three students per group). Use the problems provided below or create your own to use.

Materials Needed:
  • Problem topics
  • Chart paper or interactive board

When you read a problem, allow each group a specific amount of time (30-60 seconds or more based on student abilities) to develop a solution to the problem.

Each group should share their solution. Next, discuss which might be the better solution and why. Record the solutions and the pros/cons of each solution on chart paper or the board.

Lead students to understand that most problems have more than one solution.

Problems to use (or create your own):

  1. There is a girl on the bus who is always mean to you. She always bumps you when she walks by and she calls you names. She makes you feel stupid. You don't think you can take it anymore. What could you do?
  2. You borrowed your sister's sweatshirt one day without asking and you put a hole in it. What could you do?
  3. You are hanging outside with your friend and she decides to pick your neighbor's flowers. She gives you the pretty handful of flowers and right then your neighbor opens the door. She asks you why you picked her flowers. What could you do?
  4. You are taking a test and the guy behind you asks to see your answers. What could you do?
  5. The teacher is giving directions. Your friend sitting next to you keeps poking you and taking things off your desk. What should you do?
  6. You didn't do your homework. Your friend offers to let you copy her answers. What should you do?

Activity 2: What Would You Do?

Review the key points from Activity 1 with the students. Remind students that in Activity 1, multiple solutions were created for the same problem. Explain when faced with a problem, it is important to think about all possible solutions before selecting the best one.

Materials Needed:
  • Student Activity Sheet A - 1 per person
  • Pencil for each person

Divide students into small groups or partners. Allow students time to complete Student Activity Sheet A. Discuss their answers when all students have finished.

Student Activity Sheet A

Directions: Read the scenario below. Fill in at least three possible solutions to the problem. When all members of your group are finished, share your solution with your group. Discuss and select the best possible solution.

You have been assigned to complete a group project with two other students in your class. One of the students is unwilling to do any of the work and simply wants you and the other group members to do all the work. He tells you if the group gets a bad grade it will be all your fault. What would you do?

Activity 3: Personal Narrative

Review the key points from Activities 1 and 2 with the students.

Lead students in a discussion about what behaviors are needed in order to solve a problem. List their ideas on the board or chart paper. Discuss that there are flexible behaviors that can help you in solving a problem.

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

Allow students time to complete Student Activity Sheet B. Ask volunteers to share their work when finished.

Student Activity Sheet B

Directions: Answer the question below.

Write about a time you had a problem. How did you solve the problem? Do you feel you used the best possible solution? Why or why not?

Application Activity

Script Prompt: Develop a script and create an animation that includes two characters in a setting related to the script prompt:

Materials Needed:

The dialogue between the characters must include:

  • A scenario in which a character has a problem needing a solution.
  • Another character offers to help the first character by asking more specific questions about the problems.
  • Both characters discuss possible solutions to the problem.
  • The characters choose one of the possible solutions to solve the problem.

Script Extensions: Click the following hyperlinks to have students choose their Characters, Background and Props prior to writing scripts. For examples of script writing accommodations, click Here.

Methods for completing this activity include (choose one or a few, depending on your students’ levels and abilities):

Script Writing Practice: Teacher-led discussion of script creation. As a group, write both an appropriate and inappropriate version of the script. In small groups or individually, have the students independently create scripts that demonstrate the script prompt. Use the script sheet to create students' scripts.

Independent Script Recording: Pair students together to complete two scripts using the same script prompt detailed above. Direct each student to take turns being character one and character two.

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

Lesson Extension: Incorporate ELA standards by discussing both spoken and written grammar rules (dialogue punctuation, correct verb tense, sentence structure, character, setting, problem, solution). Consider using both the final animation and written script as an ELA grade/assignment.

Topic Checkout

Review the key points from previous activities and discussions with the students. Ask students time to complete the Student Topic Checkout. Discuss their answers when all students have finished.

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

Student Topic Checkout

Directions: Answer the question below.

How does thinking of multiple solutions to a problem help you work through a difficult situation?