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Lesson 1, Topic 62
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Relevant Resources Copy

Teaching problem solving: Let students get “stuck” and “unstuck”




Teaching problem solving: Let students get “stuck” and “unstuck”

Kate Mills (Literacy Interventionist), and Helyn Kim (Former Brookings Expert)

In the real world, students encounter problems that are complex, not well defined, and lack a clear solution and approach. They need to be able to identify and apply different strategies to solve these problems. However, problem solving skills do not necessarily develop naturally; they need to be explicitly taught in a way that can be transferred across multiple settings and contexts.






Innovate 2 Educate: Tackling Real World Issues

https://vimeo.com/124102803

Backstory and Takeaway

In the spring semester of 2015, I was teaching a 10th grade class (6 sections / 120 students) in Little Rock, Arkansas. It was an entrepreneurship course with a focus on public service, and I wanted them to participate in a semester-long project that had them tackle a relevant issue in their lives. As an entire cohort, we decided that it would be cool to tackle the issue of education and what that meant to them. They worked in teams of 4-5 students and followed the road map of a lean canvas, which is often used in the startup world to solve problems with a specific product. At the end of the semester they pitched their ideas to a panel of judges. This video is the recap of that event.

I share this video with hope that it stirs up ideas on how you might bring real world issues into your classroom. Although this is specific to high school, we also did the same project in elementary school (3rd grade) and middle school (7th grade). Each engagement was a success and a big take away for the students was centered on problem solving while providing their own lived experiences and stories to shape the solutions.