Critical Thinking and Problem Solving: Day 1


We have spent a lot of time talking about creativity and innovation.  Do you think that you are challenged to be creative?  What is the most important takeaway in the activities we did in the past few weeks?  Please write your feelings and thoughts on the index card.

As for the assignment, you need to turn in the learning contract by 11:59 PM tonight if you are not going to use a late pass.  If you are using a late pass, you can turn it in by 11:59 PM this Wednesday.  Also, remember that your learning contract will not be graded without your documentation.

Any other question?


All roads lead to Rome.  There are always several ways for us to solve a problem.  It’s important to help your students develop the critical thinking and problem solving abilities.  I just read an article yesterday talking about the “Pampered Child Syndrome”.  Due to this syndrome, more and more children lose the abilities to solve the problems they encountered in their daily life.  As educators, we do need to challenge ourselves first.  So, here comes the challenge.

In groups of 4, using the 3 bamboo skewers and clay – create a structure that balances by the point of one skewer on your fingertip.

Here are some questions related to the task.  Choose to answer.

  • 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 is the NETS standard for problem solving.

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:

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


We are going to start a new project, the Learning Adventure.  This is our final project in which yo will demonstrate what you have learned this semester.  Think about what we have done this semester.  Personal website, infomercial, image editing and film making, social network discussion, interactive whiteboard…so now it’s time to integrate everything into one project.

Simply put, this project is asking you to create a website for students, parents and other teachers who are interested in doing similar projects.  By doing this project, you need to to guide a student through an adventure of your choosing (of course, it’s nice to offer them choices within your adventure as well).

Let’s take a look at some examples.

Five Senses
Animals on the Farm

If these are not enough or clear to you, here are two more examples.

Health Adventure: You Are What You Eat
Adventure in the Wilderness

Please take some time to browse these examples to help you understand more about this project.


After looking at the student examples, what questions do you have? How do you think the adventure could have been improved? Do you notice any missing elements of the adventure that could have made it better? Think on this – maybe as we work through the project, you will want to go about it differently. That’s okay! Just be sure to talk with me to let me know your ideas.

Partners and Groups

I would prefer you worked with a partner for this project. It’s okay if you find yourself planning an adventure in a subject or grade level that is different than the one you identified at the beginning of the semester. I am open to people working alone, but you need to be forewarned that this can be a lot of work – being able to share the work load will help you stay on target. You do not have to decide today who you’d like to work with, but be prepared to share this in class on Tuesday.

Project Rubric

Open this UGA EDIT 2000 Learning Adventure Rubric.  Talking through the rubric will help you understand what is expected of you throughout the project. It also contains a time line so you can keep on target. You will notice that the criteria for receiving full credit is part of the rubric. Let’s look at this together. If we have enough time, we will also be creating our own criteria for the project as a class.

** Note: I haven’t set up the due date for each part yet.  I will make the final decision by Wednesday.  Thanks for your patience.


1. Submit your learning contract if you use a late pass.

2. Submit your document analysis.  If you are going to use a late pass for it, you can turn it in before we meet on Friday.

3. Find your partner for the learning adventure project.

4. Take a look at the examples of the learning adventure and think about questions.

5. Think about the topic that you want to work on for your learning adventure.




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