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2-5 minutes


Primary / Junior / Intermediate




To help students develop better problem-solving skills

To support students’ problem-solving skills, provide opportunities to:  Use reflective thinking and discussion:

  • “What is the problem? What are we trying to accomplish?”
  • “Have you ever done/experienced something like this before? Can you tell yourself what to do this time?”


  • Possible solutions with the students and discuss/predict the ‘pros and cons’ of each before doing anything else. Offer suggestions.


  • “Try that and tell me how it works out”.
  • “What might have made it work out better for next time?”
  • Let students learn from their experience.
  • Adapted from Constructing Meaning by Nancy N. Boyles

Problem solving is an everyday skill that impacts all parts of a student’s academic and personal success. Students with strong problem-solving skills are more able to approach problems positively. Ideally, students develop a foundation of social problem-solving skills that allow them to manage choice making and complex social interactions with skilled decision making through repeated practice (Daunic, et. al, 2012; Diamond & Lee, 2011).

Daunic, A. P., Smith, S. W., Garvan, C. W., Barber, B. R., Becker, M. K., Peters, C. D., … & Naranjo, A. H. (2012). Reducing developmental risk for emotional/behavioral problems: A randomized controlled trial examining the Tools for Getting Along curriculum. Journal of school psychology, 50(2), 149-166.

Diamond, A., & Lee, K. (2011). Interventions shown to aid executive function development in children 4 to 12 years old. Science, 333(6045), 959-964.