Road Trip is confusing...For Me!


I’m really finding that I need to clarify this lesson. I really wish this was part of the one we did in the TeacherCon. Ironically we went through the first part but the Road trip is the confusing part. Personally, I’m making some changes to the Activity guide to help the students understand what to do at what step.
Some of the things I don’t like are the table they fill out. First of all, the term “criteria” is somewhat confusing then the column of “how my plan accounts for it” is also confusing as I even looked at the sample and I would personally do it differently. I’m really considering just having them list the criteria but changing the term/heading to “things to consider” and then I’m just going to give them a big space for their plan as I also don’t like how the plan is divided up into stops and things we’ll see. I’d like the kids to be able to show their plans in different ways according to their styles then they may have more to talk about in the next step.
Anyway, that’s the direction I’m going. I don’t know if anyone else is feeling the same confusion with this lesson.


It was confusing to me as well, I was going to think of how to revise it. The students were very confused which led to a great discussion about defining the problem and if we don’t define it well we can’t actually solve it. However I was also looking for some ideas on how to clarify or change it. I’m even debating on weather or not to eliminate the third column all together.


I completely understand the confusion in the Road Trip portion of this lesson. I like @msummers’s response about having a conversation about how important it is to define the problem first. I also think that the ambiguous nature of it is supposed to push students to use the problem solving process. The difficulty is that so many students are just not ready for abstract thinking this early in the year. I’ve considered changing the wording for the first column to something like “What I want from the trip” and maybe the third column to something more straight forward like “How I put this in my plan”. I know those aren’t perfect, but sometimes I just need to be really obvious in my wording so the focus stays on the right problem.


I read the teacher tips for this one. The problem ISN’T well defined for a reason. The Discussion part explains really well the four steps of problem solving. I used it as a “life” lesson that they will encounter. Not everything is well defined. Great learning lesson for me and students!


I agree that it is confusing for students. And I get that the problem is purposefully confusing and that’s part of the later discussion, but the assignment itself does not need to be so confusing. I combined the Criteria and Goals columns into “Group Criteria/Goals”, and then changed the column “How My Plan Accounts for it” to “How my individual plan reaches this goal.” This also helped them recognize what was to be done with the group and what was to be done individually, plus that language was more clear for students. Also, I changed the “Make a Route” section to “Create Your Itinerary” and had them list things in time order.


This looks like a way to help with the confusing parts of the assignment. Thank you for sharing.


I agree, it was confusing for my students. Totally in agreement - it works really well for helping to explain how having a well-defined problem helps in the problem solving process - after evaluating, you have to make new definitions and goals.

This is for a sixth grade class, and we only have forty minutes at a time. I took one class to do the first two problems and a whole class to do this third problem. Next class we evaluate, discuss, and do the reflection as a summative - but I’m not going to make sure everything’s perfect.

Yesterday when I tried this with my first class, they had so much trouble creating the criteria in small groups. Today for my second class, instead, we created criteria and goals as a whole class. I then used the criteria for my third and fourth classes and this definitely worked the best. I then had the kids work individually on making the plan. I attached an example of what we came up with for the criteria. (I projected it on the board and they wrote it on their worksheets).

Next year I’ll just give them the criteria to start off with. I know this removes some of the confusion with the “Definition” but honestly, with sixth graders, there’s enough confusion already so there’s plenty to discuss afterwards :slight_smile:


They really liked the activity and looking up things on Google Maps!


thanks for sharing @emily.kosmack!!