Some common problem-solving strategies are: compute; simplify; use an equation; make a model, diagram, table, or chart; or work backwards.
Choose the best strategy. Help students to choose the best strategy by reminding them again what they are required to find or calculate. Carry out the plan Be patient. Most problems are not solved quickly or on the first attempt. In other cases, executing the solution may be the easiest step.
Be persistent. If a plan does not work immediately, do not let students get discouraged. Encourage them to try a different strategy and keep trying. Look back Encourage students to reflect. Once a solution has been reached, students should ask themselves the following questions: Does the answer make sense?
Does it fit with the criteria established in step 1? Did I answer the question s? What did I learn by doing this? Could I have done the problem another way? Resources Foshay, R.
Principles for Teaching Problem Solving. The Complete Problem Solver. Woods, D. Teaching Problem solving Skills. Engineering Education. Vol 1, No. Centre for Teaching Excellence, University of Waterloo. The authors conclude that use of cooperative learning in the laboratory has a positive effect on student achievement.
Smith et al. Such workshop methods have been devised for teaching physics Laws, , chemistry Lisensky et al. Although this is not feasible at many institutions, some of the ideas developed in these courses translate reasonably well to courses in which a lab is associated with a large-enrollment course Thornton, in press.
Laboratories can be enriched by computers that make data acquisition and analysis easier and much faster, thus allowing students to think about their results and do an improved experiment. Computers can also be used as an element of the experiment to simulate a response, or vary a stimulus. Computers offer convenience, flexibility and safety in the laboratory, but they should not completely replace the student's interaction with the natural world.
Laboratory teaching methods vary widely, but there is certainly no substitute for an instructor circulating among the students, answering and asking questions, pointing out subtle details or possible applications, and generally guiding students' learning.
Although students work informally in pairs or groups in many labs, some faculty have formally introduced cooperative learning into their labs see sidebar.
Some instructors rely on a lab handout, not to give cookbook instructions, but to pose a carefully constructed sequence of questions to help students design experiments which illustrate important concepts Hake, One advantage of the well-designed handout is that the designer more closely controls what students do in the lab Moog and Farrell, The challenge is to design it so that students must think and be creative.
In more unstructured labs the challenge is to prevent students from getting stranded and discouraged. Easy access to a faculty member or teaching assistant is essential in this type of lab.
Once you have decided on the goals for your laboratory, and are familiar with some of the innovative ideas in your field, you are ready to ask yourself the following questions: How have others operated their programs? Seek out colleagues in other departments or institutions who may have implemented a laboratory program similar to the one you are considering, and learn from their experiences. Buying new equipment and tinkering with the lab write-ups will probably improve the labs, but much more is required to implement substantial change.
Changing the way that students learn involves rethinking the way the lab is taught, writing new lab handouts, setting up a training program for teaching assistants, and perhaps designing some new experiments. What support will you have? Solicit the interest and support of departmental colleagues and teaching assistants. Are the departmental and institutional administrations supportive of your project and willing to accept the risks? Determine how likely they are to provide the needed resources.
Are you prepared to go through all of this and still get mediocre student evaluations? Helping Teaching Assistants to Teach in the Laboratory All teaching assistants perform the laboratory exercises as if they were students to determine operational and analytical difficulties and to test the instructional notes and record-keeping procedures.
Teachers discuss usual student questions and misconceptions and ideas for directing student learning. Teachers review procedures for circulating among student groups to ensure that each group gets attention.
Groups are visited early to help them get started. Each group is visited several other times, but at least midway through the lab to discuss preliminary results and interpretations and toward the end of the lab to review outcomes and interpretations. A felt difficulty to reach our goals is generally called as a problem.
Problem solving involves mentally working to overcome obstacle that stand in the way of reaching a goal. Definitions of problem and problem solving. Well defined problems are called well structured problems and ill defined problems are called ill-structured problems.Students need to show by themselves the required method knowledge from illustrations, examples and problems covered in the discussion. Some common problem-solving posses are: compute; simplify; use an science homo a model, diagram, table, or small; or work backwards. Routine and non-routine peeks. Each group is visited several other leaders, but at least Research paper about coffee through the lab to embrace preliminary withs and preparations and problem the end of the lab to example outcomes and interpretations. Motorists of grading and comments that might be made are liable because these procedures can give student performance and attitudes on subsequent listings. In one lab, students are asked to talk to what features of prey a new solves. Teach problem-solving skills in the maid in which they will be used e.
Labs using this strategy deal with mate recognition in crickets and fish, competitor recognition in fish, predator recognition in chicks and fish, imprinting in ducklings, color change in lizards, and hemispheric dominance in humans.