Teach for Life | Wichita, Kansas, USA
When a student or group of students encounter a problem, have them use the four-step problem solving method to overcome it. The four steps can be repeated until a solution is found.
Problem Solving is a method teachers can use to guide students through any kind of problem. There are four steps to Problem Solving: Define the problem…make a plan…put the plan into action…and check the result. As an example, you’ll see how these ants use the four steps. The first step is to clearly define the problem, to understand what the goal is, and what is keeping you from reaching that goal. The ants want to move this cookie into their anthill, but it’s too big to fit. The second step is to make a plan for solving the problem. This step includes talking about information and ideas that will be helpful. The ants decide to break the cookie into small pieces and move them into their anthill. The third step is to put the plan into action. They break up the cookie and move the pieces. And the fourth step is to check the result. It looks like it’s working! Sometimes the plan does not solve the problem. For example, this piece is still too big to fit. But that’s okay. The four steps may need to be done more than once. It’s an ongoing process until a solution is found: Define the problem, make a plan, put the plan into action, and check the result.