Getting to the point

Our class is winding down! We have only 4 weeks left to go! We’re going to be moving quickly for the next few weeks so please make sure you read the blog on the days you aren’t in class so you can keep up.

Hands on activity
Our next topic is problem solving so we’re going to do a group activity related to problem solving (it’s also one of Gretchen’s favorite science activities).  In groups of 4, using the 3 bamboo skewers and clay, create a structure that balances/remains steady by the point of one skewer.

Problem solving group discussion
Within your group – respond to the following questions:

  • There are 2 types of problems: open-ended and close-ended. Which was the balancing activity?
  • How is the balance activity an inquiry activity?
  • Could the balance activity be considered problem-based learning?
  • When have you experienced the problem-based learning approach in your classes? (What is problem-based learning?)
  • How is this connected to critical thinking? For that matter, what IS critical thinking?

Here are the NETS for problem solving (and other related areas):

Critical Thinking, Problem Solving, and Decision Making
Students use critical thinking skills to plan and conduct research, manage projects, solve problems, and make informed decisions using appropriate digital tools and resources. Students:

  • identify and define authentic problems and significant questions for investigation.
  • plan and manage activities to develop a solution or complete a project.
  • collect and analyze data to identify solutions and/or make informed decisions.
  • use multiple processes and diverse perspectives to explore alternative solutions.

Well be working with problem solving and critical thinking over the next three weeks.  In a lot of ways they overlap.  So we begin reading chapter 4 next time and start to combine the ideas of problem solving and critical thinking.

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