Critical Thinking and Problem Solving– Day 2

Thanks for your critical feedback about the creativity and innovation section.  That helps me a lot in understanding how you feel about the activities and materials we used.  However, I need to clarify one thing.  Creativity contract is not a new segment in EDIT 2000.  Ms. Thomas has been using it in her section all the time.  It is new to me.  I didn’t use it last semester.  I reorganized it a little bit and thought I have already decreased the load….but maybe it’s still too much.  I will try to balance the time and the tasks in the future.  Thanks for your feedback.  In order to let you feel less stressed, I changed the rubric of the learning adventure project.  Now, let’s take a look at what we are going to do for the rest of the semester.



I’ve made the structure to balance the skewers on my fingertip.  It’s not the way we figure out before.  It’s a new way to do it to me.  With my cats waving their arms in the air, it’s really hard to balance the structure on my fingertip.

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.

In the textbook we used before, they defined problem solving ability this way.

“Students apply critical and creative thinking skills to prior knowledge during the problem solving process. The end result of problem solving is typically some kind of a decision: choosing a solution and then evaluating it.” (p 155)

“Problem-based learning (PBL) is a teaching approach that combines critical thinking, problem-solving skills, and inquiry as students explore real-world problems. It is based on unstructured, complex, and authentic problems that are often presented as part of a project.” (p 156)

If you type the words into the word cloud software, you will get a wordle like this.

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.  We call this project-based learning.

Here is an article talking about project-based learning.

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).

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.

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.

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
A Mesozoic Mess: Dino Myths in Media


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.


You’ll want to get students interested in your topic by starting with an essential question. We’re going to try and write a few ourselves today.

  1. On an index card, write a question related to a topic about which you enjoy learning. For example, “what happened to the dinosaurs?”, “why did the Titanic sink”, etc.
  2. Get in a group with  another classmates, and use a tubric to turn your question into an essential question.
  3. How good is your question? Use the essential question development checklist on the last page of this handout to see how well you did.

Here is an article about how to ask a good essential question.


For the remainder of today’s class, you’ll want to work  to come up with ideas for your essential question.

You’ll also want to create a new Google site (not a new page in your current site) and do the following:

  • Make sure the title of your site reflects the nature of your adventure.
  • Make sure your navigation bar reflects the sections in the rubric distributed in class today.


  1. If you haven’t developed the essential questions for your learning adventure project, come to lass with the question(s) ready on Friday.
  2. Double check the rubric of the learning adventure project and make sure that you have no question about it. If you do have question, ask them in class this Friday.
  3. Create the new Google site for your learning adventure project by Friday.
  4. Document analysis, both the hard copy of the brochure and the electronic file, will be due before class this Friday.  If you want to use your late pass, it will be due before we meet next Monday.

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