Why is Everyday Problem Solving Important?
Have you solved a problem today? Most likely, the answer is “Yes,!” That’s what people do, from the young to the elderly, they solve “sticky-wicket” problems that are big and small, neat and messy, easy and complicated and they do it all day long. It’s called life and life presents constant challenges to overcome. The wee ones figure out how to get shoes on and tied, the teens are engrossed in managing their forgotten homework, while the high school sophomore finagles to get the car. In the adult world, the accountant is busy sorting out a double booking, the sales clerk is racing to the bus because her car didn’t start, frantic travelers at the airport are rescheduling appointments and rebooking flights that have been unexpectedly cancelled, and the elderly woman who lives across the street is gingerly navigating the ice on the front walk. Yes, problems, challenges, and troubles make the world go round, just as accomplishments, awards and celebrations do.
With that in mind, it behooves the educational community to practice problem solving is in multiple situation. At the end of the day, the argument for practicing inquiry and problem-based learning (PBL) throughout the curriculum seems well founded. It is time to move into that 21st Century curriculum framework that challenges kids to learn how to think on their own, how to try figure things out and to take pride in their accomplishments. They begin see that they are good thinkers and good problem solvers, as their confidence in their own abilities to be aware and to take control of the situation.
It’s how you let go and let them grow. It’s okay if they struggle a little. That informs you of the skills that need attention through coaching and feedback, and mini-lessons that instruct and clarify.
That’s why Everyday PBL provides the opportunity for teachers to turn everyday lesson into everyday inquiry with the efficient and effective model.
Unleashing Problem Solvers with Everyday PBL
Step #1 Develop a Question – Essential questions are universal; they branch and reach out. (How Do Structures Impact our Lives? Structure of: sentences, atoms, family, planets)
Step #2 – Scenario and Stakeholder Role – Your point of view matters a lot to the entire PBL (Stakeholder Roles: Legal Drinking Age Bill into Law: sheriff, teen, parent, peer, sibling)
Step #3 – Research Ideas – Searching and Researching – knowing what you know, what you don’t (Researching with credible web searches, interviews, field trips, and text readings)
Step #4 – Organize Material –order your findings with tools that reflect the relationship (collect information to the point that they are farther from a solution than when they started).
Step #5 – Create Product –devise a product, paper, video, graph to demonstrate evidence of learning (OK, It’s not perfect! Do not allow perfect to be the enemy of good. Get it done!)
Step #6 – Present Evidence –Present in favored way with creativity and a sense of audience (the presentation is as different as cooking a turkey and serving Thanksgiving dinner)
Step #7 – Assess Learning – Formative and summative assessment for reflection (project & quality of writing, presentation, research, collaboration, time management)
ASCD Book coming out in October 2017: Everyday PBL: Pete and Fogarty