Classroom Learning – September 17, 2014

Reflecting on problem solving.

Reflecting on problem solving.

We’ve been discussing in class how to solve problems and how problem-solving skills are essential in all aspects of lives. We had Mrs. Rogul join us for two periods today to help us think deeper about what strategies we can use when addressing problems across subjects and in life.

We worked together and reflected on what comes to mind when we think of the words “Problem-Solving”. These were some of the student’s answers:

  • Confused
  • Hard
  • Annoying
  • Math
  • Fight
  • Thinking
  • Tired
  • Bullying
  • Hard work
  • Voice
  • No fun
  • Trouble
  • Me

We also reflected on how we can solve a problem and some of their answers were:

  • Think hard
  • Ask a friend or teacher
  • Work it out
  • Think about other things on your mind
  • Teamwork and cooperation by working together
  • Always help
  • Get some sleep
  • Find a good compromise

This was a difficult task to complete as most students associate “problem-solving” with either math or in terms of social skills. They really worked together to breach those gaps.

Working to solve sample problems.

Working to solve sample problems.

Students were then provided with a sample problem and were asked to use some of the strategies they come up with to try and solve it. Some students jumped right in, while others really hesitated. I made sure to let them all know that the first step in tackling any problem is to try.

Our afternoon Social Studies activities also brought forth the opportunity for the students to implement the skills they learned that morning. They each created their own Google Map and were asked to identify the provinces, territories and capital cities of Canada. While this may sound like an easy task or one that could just as easily be done via a paper map, its a much deeper process when the students can manipulate a map and see the world move from a bird’s eye view.  They weren’t given any information as to the locations but had to reason, describe and search for the information requested.

Exploring Canada's geographic regions.

Exploring Canada’s geographic regions.

It was amazing to watch as a student hit their first problem … does Nunavut have any cities?…. as they couldn’t locate anything on the map. With some purposeful questioning, they realized they were searching too high north. As Nunavut is a northern territory without much access, cities are located near water for easy transportation of goods. They began to connect the pieces and formulate their own knowledge about the geography of our country.

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