The student is expected to identify and explain a problem such as finding a home for a classroom pet and propose a solution in his/her own words.
The student knows that information and critical thinking are used in scientific problem solving.
Scientists at Play, Teaching Science Process Skills: Science in School (website) - Describes a variety of problem solving strategies, for teachers of all grades.
Problem Solving: The Art of Teaching Science (website) - In exploring different kinds of thinking and problem solving skills, this article distinguishes between basic skills (provide a foundation for science) and integrated skills (higher-level skills that demonstrate deeper understanding of problem solving and scientific investigation).
Build a Better Pencil: Science NetLinks (website) - This design challenge engages students as they observe, evaluate and propose solutions to improve the design of a familiar classroom tool, the pencil.
- Supporting Lessons
- Assessment Ideas
- Literature Connections
- Additional Resources
Invent a Backscratcher from Everyday Materials: TeachEngineering (website) - Being able to recognize a problem and design a potential solution is the first step in the development of new and useful products. In this activity, students create a device to that allows one to scratch an itch in the center of his/her back.
Which Roof is Tops? TeachEngineering (website) - Students explore the advantages/disadvantages of different roof shapes for different climates or situations.
Elaboration Lessons and Extensions
The Litterbug: Cleanup Australia (PDF) - Students conduct a “litter audit” in which they identify where and what kinds of trash they find around the school. The class uses their findings to organize an anti-litter campaign to solve the problem of littering at school.
Ask students to work with a partner to identify and explain a problem in their school, such as a leak in the water fountain that wastes natural resources, or a slick floor that might pose a risk to people walking on it. Have students propose a solution and report their ideas to the class.
Is a Worry Worrying You? Wolff, Ferida (ISBN-13: 978-1933718057)
Baxter Needs a Home. O’Donnell, Liam (ISBN-13: 978-1592492985)
Swimmy. Lionni, Leo (ISBN-13: 978-0394826202)
The Lorax. Dr. Seuss (ISBN-13: 978-0394823370)
Don’t Mess with Texas: Texas Department of Transportation (website) - Learn how to help keep Texas litter free and raise awareness of the need to dispose of trash properly. Click the links at the top of the page for different ways to help solve the litter problem.