Reflection: Routines and Procedures Be the Chimp! Teaching Students Independent Problem Solving - Section 5: Evaluate

 

Successful, independent problem solving is a life skill that fits perfectly with the many opportunities for scientific collaboration we present to students. I've made the mistake of assuming that students can just "figure it out" when working together, and there is something to be said for letting students hash it out, but it is evident that some time invested upfront will be rewarded with more time on task later. I've struggled to find the time to teach collaboration and problem solving strategies explicitly, but a couple of tricks that have helped me manage it follow:

1) Keep written records (notebook, email) to keep track of issues and follow up conferences with students. I've included a Record of Student Conference to show how I communicate with students when groups aren't working well. Students will live up to the expectations set if they know that you will remember hold them accountable.

2) Train student facilitators. If you have student assistants or students with strong interpersonal skills in your room, teach them how to help groups facilitate problems. I will also design lab groups to include at least one skilled or trained student.

3) It is normal and preferable for students to struggle with independent problem solving in science! I keep an eagle eye on students when they are struggling to make sure that appropriate interventions can be made prior to a tip in the frustration level. If a student tips, there may be additional behavior, motivation and confidence concerns that prove more challenging to handle.

  Routines and Procedures: After the Lesson - Making Time for Cooperation
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Be the Chimp! Teaching Students Independent Problem Solving

Unit 2: Engaging 21st Century Scientists
Lesson 3 of 12

Objective: SWBAT plan and carry out investigations while working together effectively.

Big Idea: Collaboration and experimentation are hallmarks of the human endeavor called the scientific process. In order to plan and carry out effective investigations, students need a tool kit for working together and solving interpersonal and scientific problems.

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18 teachers like this lesson
Subject(s):
Science, Physical Science, Norms, Classroom Management, Science Skills, problem solving, investigation, safety
  55 minutes
 
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