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Part 2
Part 1, a 45-minute lesson, had been introducing the problem in the assembly hall, dividing groups and giving a small 10-minute task, to find a group name. See Thinking Theme Day, Part 1

Lesson 2.
The groups were advised that in order to solve the problem we have to know why it is a problem.
10 minutes: In groups the pupils were asked to list the reasons why keeping the corridors tidy is such a problem, as most of them couldn’t think why at once. They were slow to get started with this, but once they got going they found lots of reasons, including things we, as teachers, hadn’t thought of, like the fact that they have competitions to get into the classroom first, so they more or less just throw their coats at the hooks!

10 minutes: whole class discussion, listing all the reasons they’d found, and making an ENV model of the reasons, with the reasons being the values. They had help in grouping the values to find parameters as we didn’t have time – we predicted that the parameters would concern TIME, SPACE and BEHAVIOUR, so they were asked to fit the reasons into these, which they did.

10 minutes: class discussion continued with them suggesting what the ideal situation would be in the case of each reason they had found, so, for example, if the problem is that coats fall down and no-one picks them up, they suggested that if anyone sees a coat on the floor, or accidently knocks it down themselves, they should pick it up.
15 minutes: the groups started to look for possible solutions to the problem. Some of the groups looked closely at the ENV and what it said, some went to look more closely at the cloakroom itself to see if there was anything that could be improved there. They were asked to think which of the problems is the worst one and which of the ideal situations would help most.

The groups thought up their own solutions to the problem, planned a poster advertising their solution and why they thought it would work, and started to make their posters. They were also supposed, in their classes consisting of three to four groups, to listen to each group’s solution, consider the good and bad points of each and decide together which was best, to be presented to the whole school. This was quite ambitious in the time we had, and choosing the best one spilled over into the next lesson. The children were enthusiastic about this stage.

Everyone gathered in the assembly hall and the the groups who’d been chosen from the classes all presented their own ideas. We had thought that pupils should ask them questions and that they should say why they think this is a good solution, but time ran out.

See Thinking Theme Day, Part 3, Feedback and Reflections

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