How to Incorporate Problem Solving into Your Curriculum

Posted August 25, 2022 by Miranda Marshall

With schools across the United States getting started this month, now is the time many teachers are getting to know their classes, subjects, and maybe even grade levels. During this critical planning period, there are educational standards that need to be met at the national, state, and district levels. It can be stressful thinking about how to make sure students aren’t just building the hard skills they’ll need for testing, but also the soft skills that they’ll carry with them into higher education and/or their future careers – such as problem solving.

 

At every age, problem solving skills help students think critically and strategically about the world around them. Not only is problem-solving necessary in the classroom and during exams like SATs and ACTs, it can also encourage creativity and inspire students to pursue new knowledge and career pathways.

 

Problem solving is essential in every classroom, no matter the subject area, but it can be tricky finding organic ways to incorporate it into your curriculum. One of the best ways to help students hone their problem solving skills is to have your students participate in an academic competition! Competitions like Future Problem Solving Program International (FPSPI) cater to students in multiple age ranges, and work with educators to curate the best experience for your students and their individual needs.

 

In this blog post, we will detail how you can integrate problem-solving into your curriculum for all grade levels – from kindergarten to high school – through FPSPI.

1. Check out their affordable, non-competitive resources for teachers.

 

FPSPI offers three different resources for educators who want to teach problem solving without guidance or the challenge environment:

  • — Action-Based Problem Solving (ABPS) – available for students K-9 to provide guidance in the problem solving process and writing of ideas.
  • — The Problem Solving Experience Curriculum – targeted at grades 5-8 to be implemented either as a full course, or spread out over 1-4 years, with complete lesson plans included.
  • Problem Solving Across the Curriculum (PSAC) – provides hundred of Future Scenes that can be modified for any classroom or grade level to give students the opportunity to apply the problem solving process.

 

2. Tackle global issues in the classroom.

 

Global Issues Problem Solving (GIPS) is available to teams or individual students who want to make a positive impact on the world. It can be used as a curriculum, integrated into existing content plans, or completed outside of school hours.

 

Participating students research global topics and resolve a Future Scene (a hypothetical scenario) by creating a detailed action plan.

 

3. Enact local change.

 

Community Problem Solving (CmPS) is also available to teams or individual students who want to explore the world around them, particularly issues that are close to home. CPS participants may also choose to address global concerns with their projects, but work to resolve the problems they choose by developing and carrying out their projects in the real world.

 

4. Get creative with performance or writing.

 

Scenario Writing (SW) and Scenario Performance (ScP) competitions call upon individual students to

respond to one of the five annual topics through either a 1500-word comprehensive essay or through an oral presentation, respectively. In both instances, students are asked to create stories that logically detail the outcomes of events taking place in the future.

 

Feedback from coaches:

[FPSPI] teaches important life skills.

[FPSPI helped our students with] developing advanced thinking skills.

FPS is challenging and involves hard work.

 

Want to learn more about how you can get your students involved in FPSPI? Check out the benefits of the program and get started this school year or join the 30-minute Intro to FPS Webinar on September 14th!