Curriculum
Course: Doer's Mindset
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Text lesson

LEARNING UNIT 2.3 – GETTING THINGS DONE: PROBLEM SOLVING PROCESS

INTRODUCTION/MOTIVATION (15 minutes):

The teacher explains that in this and the following lesson they will build on their knowledge of how to become DOERS. Knowing how to identify and solve problems, and how to get things done is very useful in everyday life when challenges, problems and crises occur.  

Some lines the teacher can use for explaining the topic GETTING THINGS DONE (use the PPT** as a visual aid):

          Getting things done is not an overnight task. The problem can be identified in a moment, an opportunity spotted as it is occurring, but to actually find the right solution and bring it to life is quite a different story.

          The path of the “Doer” is no different than anyone else’s when attempting something new or finding themselves in an unfamiliar situation.

          Let’s have a look at what a process for solving problems for people looks like (Slide 2)

          It is depicted here as a spiral to symbolise the realistic representation in which steps are repreated several times (some more than others) to move from the initial state, which is typically a realisation that something needs to change or be solved and really understanding the problem, to the final state, represented by the solution in the centre of the spiral.

          Becoming narrower with each iteration, the problem and scope are becoming more focused compared to being fairly generic and broad early on.

          But for our purposes we will simplify the process into a linear version (Showing slide 3) to demonstrate each step and focus on why they are important and how they contritute towards solving a real problem.

          In the following lessons we will select a situation that we want to resolve and go through all the steps of the problem-solving process. While we will aim to find a solution and pitch it in class, the focus in on understanding the process and tools to help us walk through it. We will also aim to create the pitch that is so good that we could also do it with a real-life target audience.

          But before we get into the “doing”, let’s do some thinking and understanding. Therefore, today we will look at a real case that will help us understand the steps and what is behind them much better so that next time we can start with our own mission.

** The ppt is an attachment to this learning unit.

MAIN PART (25 minutes):

In the main part, the teacher explains the case of solving PPE shortage during COVID-19 pandemic and how a group of strangers stepped together to solve it when countries were are the standstill. The case is explained in detail in Chapter 6 of the Doers’ Mindset Guide and the teacher should study it to answer some follow-up questions from pupils. Finally, the teacher sums up the steps the Team took in his own words, using ppt as a visual aid.  

 

ASSESSMENT (5 minutes):

The teacher explains that next time they will start working on their own case and will be solving a problem following each step of the process. The pupils can start brainstorming for problems they want to address before the next lesson.

 

OPTIONAL UPGRADE

Activity: The Marshmallow Tower Challenge

Time: 30-45 min required

Goal: To teach teamwork, problem-solving, creativity, and planning skills to students

Description: Use the Marshmallow Tower Challenge as and incredible fun yet powerful exercise to get students into problem-solving aptitude.

Materials needed for each team of 3 (4):

          25 sticks of spaghetti

          1 meter of masking tape

          1 meter of string

          1 marshmellow or a soft cookie if a marshmellow is not available

Instructions:

          Divide students into groups of 3 (or 4 if necessary).

          Each group gets 25 sticks of spaghetti, one meter of masking tape, one meter of string and one marshmallow.

The objective: to construct the tallest tower possible with the materials provided, and the marshmallow must be placed on top.

Rules:

          The tower must stand on its own, unassisted, and measurement is taken vertically from the table top up.

          Students have 20 minutes to complete the challenge.

          Spaghetti may be broken into smaller pieces, but once broken, pieces may not be replaced.

          Remind students of the rules and encourage them to work as a team. Monitor team progress and remind them of the rules if necessary. Announce when there are 2 minutes and 1 minute remaining.

          When time is up, measure the height of each team’s tower and declare a winning team.

          Ask successful teams about their strategies and discuss challenges and things they would do differently next time.

Discussion points:

          Did they test the idea with marshmellow first or they placed it on top at the end?

          How many times did they test the idea until it worked?

 

Wrap up by explaining that the Marshmallow Challenge is used to teach problem-solving and teamwork skills to business leaders.

Teacher can share the statistics that college graduates with Business Majors perform poorly (20 inches on average) because they follow a linear problem-solving approach. Kindergarten kids perform well (30 inches on average) because they prototype and work collaboratively with no team hyrearchy and a doer’s mindset.

Video to help teachers prepare for the Marshmellow Challenge can be found here: https://youtu.be/FLKPj5Iti8I

 

APPENDIX

          DM Learning unit 2.3 PPT

Lesson materials

DM Learning unit 2.3 PPT.pptx 8 mb Download
CRIS Doers Mindset - LU 2.3 (Slovenia).docx 5 mb Download
CRIS Doers Mindset - LU 2.3 - PPT (Slovenia).pptx 9 mb Download
CRIS Doers Mindset - LU 2.3 (Greece).docx 5 mb Download
CRIS Doers Mindset - LU 2.3 - PPT (Greece).pptx 4 mb Download
CRIS Doers Mindset - LU 2.3 (Italy).docx 5 mb Download
CRIS Doers Mindset - LU 2.3 - PPT (Italy).pptx 8 mb Download