Pilot - U1L03 - Exploring Problem Solving

Thanks everyone for the great insight into your classrooms! Keep it coming!

Here is a link to U1L03 Exploring Problem Solving slides I used, along with speaker notes and links.

Google Classroom was used for the sharing of the activity guide and the link to randmcnally. Lines drawn for writing on paper copies should be eliminated for online entry of information. The lines take up character space and are not deleted as students type in their information. Not needed for online entry.

The first 2 activities were very straightforward and only required reminding to use the steps of the problem solving process and fill in the chart on the activity guide for each one. I used Google Classroom to assign the activity guide. Students highlighted the words on the page as they located them. I added places on the guide for students to enter the letters of the names of children that sat at each table. This was completed in one class period of 90 minutes.

The road trip activity was an entirely different situation. This activity took a full week to complete. First problem, students did not all understand the meaning of a road trip and how it differed from a 7 day vacation. I believe that a class period spent discussing this would be helpful. I have included how I provided additional demonstration and examples for my students - actually walking them through a sample trip (link included in speaker notes on slide) and demonstrating how to share the first completed route with their group for reflection. I liked the activity - as did my students. A pre-assigned vehicle might also be necessary to eliminate students spending too much time selecting the best car for their trip. I would also suggest that the assigned vehicle be eco-friendly to model importance of improving the world they live in.

I had one of my classes screenshot their before and after routes and attach them to the activity guide when turning it in online. This was not satisfactory as it did not capture all of the information needed. Next time, I will use the “share” option as I have described it in the slides.

Hey Debbie thanks for the detailed feedback. Obviously a week is much longer than we planned for this activity to take so thanks for the helpful idea for how to bring down the total length. I’m pretty sure we’ll either significantly alter or remove this activity in future drafts of the curriculum just given the number of obstacles we’ve heard about as well as just the total time commitment. In either case we hope this activity helped reinforce some points about the problem solving process. Thanks again for sharing!

It took about an hour, a full class for the teams to present.

Thanks for keeping us updated on the timing. As GT mentioned, we’ll need to adjust this so it isn’t taking so long.

I teach at a high school in SLC, Utah. My class is very diverse in that we have multiple languages in the class, English is not the native language of 95% of my students, I have pretty close to 50/50 boy, girl ratio and the class is a good representation of students from the entire school ranging from grades 9-12. Our class period is 90 minutes every other day.

Things to reflect on:
I had a substitute cover the first part of this lesson and it really takes some reading and planning to carry it out correctly.

When I teach this again, I plan on really hitting the problem solving process hard - giving teams names and having each person be one of the pieces of the process so they can be more engaged with it. I will probably have them switch their role for each set of tasks.

The birthday party activity, I think would work nice with a laminated sheet of paper or in protective sleeves so students can easily move the students around.

The trip maker idea was fun, however, many of my students have not taken a trip outside of our state, so they don’t know what all to consider. Next year, I will have some activities to do in state that are fun and really help students see the connecting pieces of just planning where to go, stay, food, entertainment, etc.

I feel like my students did gain a better applied understanding of the problem solving process with the trip activity and we were able to have some great rich discussions around the planning, actual travel, taking time off, food, etc.

Revision to my post since my Google Docs did not successfully post as shared. I am teaching CS Discoveries to two 8th grade sections in a Middle School in Auburn, WA. We are 65% free and reduced lunch, and have a diverse population of 33% Hispanic and 10% Native America. I am including the modifications I made in this lesson to make it work in my classroom.
Modified Road Trip handout only