# Problem Solving

## Big Idea

Do you know how to solve problems? You solve a problem whenever you overcome an obstacle and achieve a goal. What can you do when a problem is complex and you are not sure how to achieve your goal? Critical thinking can help you solve important problems. Critical thinking requires the ability to look at a problem from multiple points of view. Critical thinkers define problems precisely and gather accurate and reliable information from a variety of credible sources. They explore alternative approaches before they plan and implement a solution. Anyone can become an effective problem solver by learning key thinking skills. Learn how to use critical thinking skills to define a complex problem and explore solution alternatives.

In this module:

• Learn to use critical thinking skills to solve complex problems
• Learn how basic statistics can summarize numerical data
• Choose an interesting issue and define a complex problem
• Gather accurate and reliable information from credible sources
• Use graphic organizers to develop solution alternatives for your problem

Have you ever been asked to solve an important problem? When a problem is complex, what you do can be less important than how you think. Critical thinking helps you overcome obstacles when you are not sure what to do. Learn to use critical thinking skills to solve important problems.

Activity 2: Statistical Data >

What is data and how can you use it to solve problems? Data is information that has been collected by observation or measurement. Surveys are a formal way to collect data on people’s opinions. Learn how basic statistics can summarize survey data.

Activity 3: Problem Definition >

What can you learn when you solve a problem with data? You can use problem solving to learn about almost any topic that interests you. Defining a problem is a lot like choosing an issue for research. Choose an interesting issue and define a complex problem.

Activity 4: Information Gathering >

How do you gather accurate and reliable information to help you solve a problem? The best strategy is to take notes from a variety of credible sources. Effective notes capture all the information relevant to your issue. Gather accurate and reliable information from credible sources.

Activity 5: Solution Alternatives >

How can you use information to solve a problem? One effective strategy is to use graphic organizers to develop solution alternatives that are supported by accurate and reliable information. Use graphic organizers to develop solution alternatives for your problem.

Look Back >

Reflect on what you learned in this module. Are you ready to collect and manage data to help solve a problem? Use the checklist to make sure your tasks are complete. Use the rubric to assess your problem definition and solution alternatives. Talk about what you learned and how you did your work.

Checklist: Before you begin, review the checklist for this module. Use the checklist to make sure that you complete all the tasks for each activity.

Rubric: Before you begin, review the rubric for this module. Use the rubric to help you understand what is important to know and do.

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