Top tips: Problem Solvers activities
Problem Solvers are the perfect activity for getting students to think critically and creatively in class, like scientists. Designing a solution to a problem will give your pupils the opportunity to explore their ideas and knowledge in order to address the challenge.
How to run Problem Solvers activities
Problem Solvers are a twist on traditional making activities that will encourage pupils to solve problems creatively. Children work together to make items that meet a particular need, using generous amounts of everyday materials. More than just an activity, Problem Solvers allows pupils to overcome hurdles, seek out solutions as a team, develop their critical thinking, all whilst having fun.
Here’s an example from the activity, Protect your ears.
Explain that you will be working in groups to come up with ideas that can solve the problem challenge presented. This hands-on making activity will put pupils' knowledge to the test and improve their ability to work as a team.
Present the problem challenge to the class. Ask what the pupils already know, or think they know, about the question you’ve presented.
Sometimes you have to solve a problem on the spot. Explain that today the class will need to make something using just the materials provided. Discuss what pupils think they might learn from doing this. Explain that they will have 15 minutes to do the task in hand.
At the end of 15 minutes, it's peer review time. Discuss each other's designs as a class. Encourage pupils to provide kind, specific and helpful feedback on how each other's creations might be refined.
Allow five more minutes and give everyone a chance to act on their feedback by refining and developing their design.
When the 5 minutes is up, survey the groups' design solutions. Discuss what they've made and how their designs have changed as a result of the feedback. What have they learned from refining their solutions?