Problems to Solutions using Newsela with Elementary Students

Craft a clear problem statement and generate a potential solution after reading an article that outlines a problem and possible solutions
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Problems to Solutions Student Explanation

About This Strategy

In this strategy, students read articles from teacher-selected Newsela Text Sets that outline a problem and possible solutions to that problem. Through reading these articles and engaging in more research to thoroughly understand the problem and potential solutions, students craft a clear problem statement and generate at least one potential solution to the problem. Additionally, students share the pros and cons of each potential solution that they propose.

Before Reading Implementation Steps

Teacher Preparation and Planning: 

  1. Select topics for students to read about that contain the problem/solution element. Consider choosing topics that reflect your content area focus to further extend your students' understanding of the content. 

  2. Select Newsela texts or Text Sets that align to the selected problem/solution element. For a suggested list of Newsela Text Sets, consult the Recommended Newsela Texts or Text Sets section below. 

    • Be sure to select at least two articles from a Text Set  -- one to model for students how to identify a problem and a solution, and another for students to practice. 

  3. Make a determination regarding how or whether students will be grouped for this strategy.

  4. Locate and make copies of (or enable digital access to) the "Problem/Solution" analysis template to be used by students during reading. Refer to the example in the resource section below. 

  5. Assemble a list of digital and traditional resources needed to support students' research of the assigned topics. Gather traditional resources from the school/local library such as books or periodicals to have readily available for students to do additional research, if needed. 

Student Preparation: 

  1. Explain to students that they will be reading an article (or a series of articles) that describes a certain problem and potential solutions. Add that their task will be to craft a clear problem statement and generate at least one potential solution to that problem after reading an article that outlines a problem and any possible solutions. If additional research is needed to support students' problem statement and solution recommendation, refer them to the resource list and gathered materials that were created in the Teacher Preparation and Planning section above. 

  2. Model for students how to access articles and/or Text Sets on Newsela including how to use features like Annotations (to learn more about using Newsela Annotations consult the resource section below).

  3. Model for students how to identify a problem and solutions using an article of your choice. 

    • Show them how to craft a problem statement and how to generate one or more potential solutions. 

    • Show them how to determine the pros and cons of each potential solution by using evidence from the text. 

    • Show students where to access additional information, if needed.

  4. Using teacher discretion, form groups of two or three students and remind students of  their responsibilities for reading a text and identifying problems and solutions within the text for each group. Refer to the Cooperative Learning Chart in the resource section below if needed. If students prefer working independently, make this option available as well. 

  5. Provide students with the Problem/Solution Analysis template (in the resource section below) to be used during reading and preview the template with students.

During Reading Implementation Steps

  1. Assign the Newsela article or Text Set to your students at the Newsela Recommended reading level for each student, or adjust the reading level to a particular grade level for all students.

  2. Have students explore nonfiction articles within the assigned Text Sets on Newsela to identify the ones that peak their interest, or assign specific articles within the Text Set to students/groups. 

  3. Have students read and annotate the Newsela articles of their choice or that they were assigned individually or in groups. 

  4. Create a color coded system for students to use as they annotate. Newsela PRO users can also write annotations to help students respond to nonfiction article. An example of a color coded annotation system for Non-PRO/PRO Newsela Users is: 

    • RED: highlight problem(s)/write the problem statement 

    • GREEN: highlight potential solution(s)/list potential solutions

    • YELLOW: highlight/write any additional information pertinent to potential solutions

    • BLUE: highlight/write information that should be researched in more detail

  5. Have students use the Problem/Solution Analysis template while reading to complete all stages of the activity. 

  6. Allow students to complete additional research, if needed, using the digital and traditional resource made available to them.

After Reading Implementation Steps

  1. After completing their Problem-Solution Analysis template, students should demonstrate their understanding. There are several ways to do this. Some options include: 

    • Have students share their "Problem/Solution" findings with another student or group within the same Newsela Text Set. Students should use their Annotations and the "Problem/Solution" Analysis Template as resources during the share out. Then, have students complete an Exit Ticket demonstrating what they learned from their peers. 

    • Have students create posters including the problem and recommended solutions and present them on a whole class forum OR in a Gallery Walk format. If using a Gallery Walk, students can leave post-its next to their peers' posters sharing something they learned about the content presented. To learn more about the Gallery Walk strategy, consult the resource section below.

    • Have students complete a Problem-Solution Write response on Newsela using the Problem/Solution graphic organizer as a guide.

Recommended Newsela Texts or Text Sets

Earth Sciences: The Human Impact on Earth's Systems

  • Essential Question: How does human impact affect Earth's Systems?
  • Grade Level: 4-8
  • Content Area: Science, Social Studies, ELA

Climate Chaos and Global Climate Change

  • Essential Question: How can climate change be stopped?
  • Grade Level: 4-8
  • Content Area: Science, Social Studies, ELA

Earth Sciences: Plate Tectonics and Large Scale System Interactions 

  • Essential Question: How can natural disasters be prevented?
  • Grade Level: 4-8
  • Content Area: Science, Social Studies, ELA

Life Sciences: Ecosystem Dynamics, Functioning and Resilience

  • Essential Question: How can endangered species be saved?
  • Grade Level: 4-8
  • Content Area: Science, ELA

 "Malaria: Stopping a Global Killer" by Michael Finkel 

  • Essential Question: How can mosquito transmitted diseases be prevented?
  • Grade Level: 4-8
  • Content Area: Science, ELA

People with Autism 

  • Essential Question: What can be provide people with autism with equal opportunities to work along other members of society? 
  • Grade Level: 4-8
  • Content Area: Science, ELA