## Problems to solve

**Problem solvers**

- Identify the problem
- Understand the obstacles to overcome in solving the problem
- Come up with possible solutions
- Prioritize and evaluate different solutions
- Select a solution

## IDEAL

**I**Identify the problem**D**Define and represent the problem**E**Explore possible strategies or solutions**A**Act on a selected approach or solution**L**Look back and evaluate

## Student needs and skill sets

- What classroom tasks or activities support problem-solving?
- How will students learn skills to identify a complex problem that requires higher order thinking?
- How will students know not to over-think the solution?
- What process will students use to read and understand complex issues?

## Strategies

- Ability to understand the task before solving
- Question the problem to gain an understanding
- Understand the issue
- Make sense of relevant information

Strategies need to be taught, modeled, and practiced regularly.

Appropriate strategies deliver better work product and are easier to grade or evaluate.

### Sample strategies

- Creating lists
- Organizing thinking with outlines
- Graphic organizers
- Note-taking skills

### Problem-solving skills take years to develop

- Understand relevant information
- Ability to identify non-relevant information
- Modeling and independent practice
- Understand how to value and trust information
- Know how to use background information

## Critical independent thinkers

Excessive support and structure do not support thinking.

## Structured tasks

Structured tasks usually have one correct answer and follow a set process to solve. Solving a structured task does not support or require high levels of thinking.

**Structured tasks can be difficult, but higher order thinking requires complexity.**

## Unstructured tasks

Unstructured tasks usually have more than one correct answer and require students to justify their thinking. Real-life situations are informal or unstructured.

**Real world tasks**

- Involve ambiguities
- Need more than one source of information
- Judge value of information.
- Use close reading skills

Source: How to Assess Higher-Order Thinking Skills in Your Classroom – Brookhart