I taught this lesson to a group of 7th and 8th graders in an advanced technology course. The students were receptive to the warmup discussion about all of the different types of information (data) that we use to help us make decisions and solve problems. I also introduced the problem solving process by displaying the graphic (https://goo.gl/images/be76OF) and going through a couple example problems. Next I introduced the New Building problem and distributed the activity sheets. We discussed each response after a couple minutes to collaborate with a partner. All went well UNTIL we go to the “Try” section that calls for students propose a solution along with two REASONS and one supporting data point for each reason. The students had an exceptionally hard time with generating valid reasons that were logically connected to their suggestion. They had an equally hard time with coming up with valid, relevant data to support their reason. An example error in logic was making the suggestion to build a fire station with the reason of “there are already two libraries” and a data point that there are 23,000 people living in the community. Nothing logically connected. So, we wen’t over a few examples as a class and generated some guidelines for what relevant reasons and supporting data would be. Examples on the worksheet might help clarify the connections for students.
Finally, I had the students reflect individually using the Reflect section of the activity guide. After their reflection we shared out possible sites to find relevant data for different decision types. Gathering car data from kbb.com, national highway traffic safety board, and manufacturer websites to help us solve the problem of what new kind of car to buy.