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Problem Solving Plans


Problem Solving Lesson Plan 8

Cale Hoppe, ED381

Problem Solving/ Holistic Lesson Plan: Paper Structure 

District Aim: Students will discover the importance and applicability of geometry in their surroundings.

Grade Level Goals: Students will recognize geometric relationships in buildings and structures around them. Students will be able to reason why structures around them are made the way they are, and will be able to apply these concepts.

Grade Level: High School or Middle School


Cognitive: Students will evaluate the created shelters by comparing and contrasting them. They will be able to note observations and relate the experience to real-life scenarios. 

Affective: Students will be able to use their creativity to create the shelter. They will be in control of its appearance, minus the restrictions given in the instructions, and use their imaginations to create viable designs. They will be asked to justify their decisions in constructing  the shelter the way they did. And, students will use teamwork to complete the project. 

Physical: Students will increase their interest in geometry as well as a greater geometric understanding in this “hands on” activity. They will be a part of the project due to the stipulation that they must fit inside the finished product. Students will need to use gestures to communicate. 

Project statement: Students will construct a shelter based on their present geometric background.


a)   The shelter must be free standing.

b)   The shelter can have only one entrance with no other    openings.           


a)   Students will work in a group of four to six people.

b)   The only tools that can be used are newspapers and masking tape

c)   Group members must be able to fit completely inside of their shelter.

d)   Students will have an (X)ft by (Y)ft area to work in.

e)   Students will have thirty minutes to complete this task.

f)   No one can talk during the thirty minutes.

g)  Groups will have five minutes to talk and brainstorm before beginning.        


Skills: Students will develop the ability to:

a)      work together in small groups using teamwork.

b)      construct a shelter with minimal tools and resources.

c)      follow a set of conditions and parameters.

d)      discover which shapes are more easily adapted to free-standing structures and hold shapes lend themselves to holding more  people.

e)      recognize challenges the activity presented and what they did to combat them.

f)        formulate generalities based on observing others' shelters.

g)      apply the knowledge they learned to investigating real life scenarios.

h)      recognize the usefulness of geometry in the world around them.

Rational Statement:  By creating a model shelter, students will discover the relationships and importance of geometry in everyday examples and scenarios. Students will increase their knowledge and awareness of geometry.


Materials: Newspapers, cardboard, and duct and masking tape.


Teacher Responsibilities: The teacher is to remind students of the time remaining and should make sure conditions and parameters are being met.


Student Responsibilities: Students will be responsible for their participation, a group written evaluation, and a personal evaluation of the activity.


Extraneous Support: Newspaper donations will be taken prior to the project day. One or two other empty classrooms will be needed for project space if it is not nice enough outside.

Procedures: Prior to the project, information and activities will be presented to enhance the project and segue into it. The grading rubric will be handed out. The teacher will present the project to the class. One session will be used for planning and brainstorming, another will be used for actual construction, and a third for evaluation and debriefing. Students will evaluate their own and classmates work. A discussion will wrap-up the lesson and skills learned in completing this project. Challenges and discoveries should be noted, as well as geometric applicability. The teacher will then segue into further explorations, including another connected lesson plan.

Evaluation: Students will be graded on participation, group work, their abilities to follow the conditions and parameters of the problem, and a collective group written evaluation. There will be a grading rubric outlining these expectations.

Expanded Lessons/ Follow-up Activities: 

An engineer will come in one period as a guest speaker to address the project and how he uses geometry at work.

A Tech Ed teacher will be brought in for a cooperative lesson to demonstrate which structures can support the most weight/gravity via an air press.

Students will explore the volumes of common geometric figures and make connections with the paper shelter project.

Students will do a one page research paper on a historic structure of their choice and make connections between it and what the student has learned about geometry thus far. m time.

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