Close Looking: What Does Problem Solving Look Like?

Close looking, “a deep, precise understanding of the (image’s) form, craft, meanings, etc.” (adapted from nieonline.com/tbtimes/downloads/CCSS_reading.pdf) provides an opportunity to stop, look, and think.

We can learn a lot by taking a close look at problem solving in action – particularly when the problem solver is very young and the challenge is just difficult enough to encourage them to build on what they know. A close look at problem solving is ideal opportunity to view what it means to approach a challenge from a perspective of possibility.

Have a close look at this video – a really close look. Notice the child’s facial expressions, movements, pauses, and decision making. Make note of how the challenge is noticed, how the search for information unfolds, and the satisfaction of completing the task.

Share this close looking activity with your colleagues. It’s a great way to start a professional conversation about how to establish effective levels of challenge by building on the known, how to encourage problem solving, the roots of intrinsic motivation, and what is really meant by the zone of proximal development.

Share this close looking activity with your students. Their challenge is to search for and observe other problem solving opportunities and create a “Close Look on Problem Solving Diary”, which can be created with images, sound, or words. The components of this diary are:

  • How do we notice a problem?
  • How do we search for information?
  • How do we make sure we’ve solved the problem?

This diary becomes a student’s go-to reference when personal challenges are encountered.

Here’s another video to help you get started.

For more professional conversations about education, please visit:Beyond the Apple . . . Reframing Conversations in Education or contact us at Beyondtheapplecontact@gmail.com

About Beyond The Apple

Beyond the Apple provides everything a Professional Learning Community needs! Designed to follow Beyond the Apple's Tenets of Adult Education, our videos re-ignite the excitement of professional conversations among educators in the classroom, university, colleges and professional training. Our free teaching and learning resources provide a follow up with more information that is current, research based and practical.
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