Teacher's Corner

Background Standards Objectives Students


The Strategy

Problematic Situations can be used to prepare students for any typeof reading material that deals with a problem/solution relationship.


This lesson addresses the following California Science Content Standards.

Grades 9-12

Life, Earth, & Physical Sciences

5b: The relationship between the rotation of the Earth and the circular motion of ocean currents and air in pressure centers.

9b: The principal natural hazards in different California regions, and the geological basis of those hazards.

Investigation & Experimentation


Using the strategy with students involves the following steps:

1. Develop a problematic situation for the students to consider. It is especially important that the context of the problem be clearly defined.

2. Pose the problematic situation to the students and in cooperativegroups have them generate possible solutions or results. Have each grouprecord all their responses as they discuss them.

3. It may be desirable to have each group decide upon their most promisingresult or solution. As part of their deliberations, have them develop ajustification for why their decision might be considered the best answer.Each group then presents their solutions to the entire class for discussion.

4. The students are now ready to test their solution[s] by further reading,or in this case as a predictive model.

5. How did the student explanations compare with the information providedon the Internet? As a final step, revisit the original Problematic Situationand solicit any revisions, additions, or further comments that the studentsmay now have.

See Classroom Strategies for Interactive Learning, Doug Buehl,Wisconsin State Reading Association, 1995.


 Student Investigations:

 The start up scenario sets up a Problematic Situation and suggeststwo options for student investigations:

1. A web search of sites that provide tidal information and tidal prediction.Students will first brainstorm possible scientific explanations of themysterious appearance and disappearance of the phantom ship.

2. The other investigation that students could opt for is an explanationbased on myth and legend.

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