Most everyone has experienced traffic jams and has seen at least one cause of them. The first step is to get the class to agree on a definition of the problem. What do we mean by traffic jam? (Do we mean stopped cars or just slow traffic? Do we mean highways or any kind of roads?) A precise, operational definition is not necessary, but a brief classroom discussion for agreement about perspective about the problem is a good place to begin the investigation.
With a common frame of reference about a problem, students are ready to use the Seeing Reason mapping tool to start listing factors.