Problem solving is the ability to identify the key questions in a problem, to develop possible plans for solving, to follow through on those plans, and to evaluate both the success of the plan and the solution.
Two Rivers leaders and teachers define and share their practice around problem solving.
We have developed a rubric that defines problem solving. For more information about how we DEFINE critical thinking and problem solving skills, click here.
| The K-W-I is a thinking routine that we use to teach students about problem solving.
The K stands for “Know” and requires students to identify what they already know about a problem. The goal in this step of the routine is two-fold. First, the student needs to analyze the problem and identify what is happening within the context of the problem. Second, the student needs to activate their background knowledge about that context or other similar problems.
The W stands for “What” a student needs find out to solve the problem. At this point in the routine the student always must identify the core question that is being asked in a problem or task. However it may also include other questions that help a student access and understand a problem more deeply.
The I stands for “Ideas” and refers to ideas that a student brings to the table to solve a problem effectively. In this portion of the routine, student list the strategies that they will use to solve a problem.
For more information about how we TEACH critical thinking skills, click here.
This anchor chart from a 5th grade classroom helps students remember the KWI thinking routine.
Performance tasks assess students’ ability to solve problems, not their ability to learn content quickly nor complete grade-level academic work. For more information about how we ASSESS critical thinking, click here.