Sunday, March 22, 2020

Solve It Your Way....At Home

Several years ago, I started this site as a way to invite children and classroom communities to solve problems on their own. I have always been worried that when we have kids "do" Science Experiments, we take the science out of things because we tell them HOW to do it, HOW to record their information and HOW to share it. And often in a book of science experiments, we tell them what they should learn when they are finished. But that's the science part. And they miss out. So for years, I gave open ended questions to my students to solve on their own. They'd plan, collect supplies, conduct experiment and record results in some ways. The conversations we had around all the different ways people solved the problem opened up some of my best science teaching. Talk about organizing information, controlling for variables, etc. were very natural when kids "solved it their way".


I had forgotten about the site, but then last week I got an alert that showed me several people had visited the site.  I had no idea why all of a sudden this was happening. I had forgotten about the site for years. Then I realized that we (teachers and parents) are trying so hard to create quality experiences at home during this shelter-in-place/online learning we are experiencing. I realized how much fun these problems would be for my kids to solve and how it might be a good time to bring this back for anyone interested.  If this is something you think would benefit your kids, take a look at the site, the "About" and "Questions to Ask Yourself Page" and get started. Since I'll be doing this for the first time as an online/home experience, I may post my own experiences here.  And if we want to have conversations about how this is going, using the hashtag #solveityourway might help us all help each other.

So, I'll probably just bring back some of the same questions and maybe some new ones. I'll post one every 2 weeks. Feel free to use them and post your solutions in the comments if you'd like. I've also left the old ones (that will be repeated) up so that you can see how some kids solved them, although I realize some links don't work. I don't believe it's a great idea to share the solutions with kids before they solve themselves. The one thing I like about "Solve It Your Way" is that there are a lot of right ways to do this. And I am always most amazed by what children come up with when they really do start from scratch. But I want to leave them up for a bit in case teachers and parents want to see what this might look like.

The more I think about this, the more I like that they are applicable to almost all age levels so kids who live in the same house can work together. And some of them are very easy to tie into grade-level standard depending on else we do that might be connected.

Hope this helps!

Our first question is:


Have fun!



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