Show the students a single Pringles potato chip. Tell them that they have been requested to ship a single chip through the mail. Engage the students in a question/answer discussion that lead them to DEFINE THE PROBLEM and then determine the CONSTRAINTS of the challenge. Do NOT tell them the constraints ahead of time, lead them to the constraints through the discussion. Use the Pringles Potato Chip Mailing Challenge document (from Google Docs) as a facilitator guide.
After students have finished, lead a discussion of what was written.
1. From the background information, what new awareness do you have about asking questions?
2. In a 3-Dimensional classroom, who do you think needs to be asking questions?
3. What questions did the background raise for you?
Expose Belief Questions:
1. What are your current beliefs about this practice?
2. In what ways do you think you are using this practice?
3. What challenges do you see to using this practice?
Resolve Belief Questions:
1. In what ways did this activity change your beliefs about defining problems in engineering?
2. How difficult was it to define the problem?
3. What clarity was brought to the problem once the problem was defined?
4. How difficult was it to identify the constraints?
5. What clarity was brought to the problem once constraints were identified?
Extend the Concept Questions:
1. How do you currently help students to define problems in engineering in your classroom?
2. Review a recent lesson you taught and evaluate the effectiveness of defining problems in engineering.
Go Beyond Questions:
1. Share lessons in which you could implement the practice of defining problems.
2. Ask a colleague to observe one of your lessons OR video yourself teaching and reflect specifically on defining problems and identifying constraints.
3. Use the EQuiP Rubric for Lessons & Units: Science (PDF format) to evaluate a recent science lesson you taught.