It is a problem!

Age group

6-8 years

Primary CMS area

5. Understanding the world

Other CMS areas

Personal effectiveness

Unit Description

This unit focuses on discovering needs, rights and duties of oneself and of others; being aware of the problems of the school or community (eg. environmental) and able to analyze a critical situation through applying the inquire circle (identify the problem, imagine the solution, make an action plan, act). The activity is developed through the use of different type of maps and problem tree diagram.
Activities focus on inquiry-oriented learning. This includes critical thinking, problem solving, self-management and collaboration skills (Darling- Hammond, 2011; Halpern, 2003). Inquired-based work often includes tasks that require multiple students working together to achieve a team goal, such as a final report, integrated analyses or a joint presentation. In this case, collaborative problem solving is applied to a familiar context – school, community or neighbourhood – but it can be integrated into specific courses of study, such as the sciences, mathematics and history.

Learning outcomes

Learning the problematizing
Understanding the value of collaboration
Understanding that it is possible to make a positive impact on society

Activity Name

This is a problem!



  • Introduction of the activity (15 minutes)
  • making groups (15 minutes)


  • Brainstorming on the meaning of “being responsible” and preparing a conceptual map (1 hour)
  • Mapping the school or community environment for finding common problems or issues (1 hour)
  • Realizing a “tree problem analysis” (problem, cause and consequences: roots, trunk and branches with leaves and fruits) (1 hour) through a graphic representation.


  • Group discussion about hypothesis of solutions, highlighting the tasks/role of the students (How can we help solve this problem?) (½ hour)

Learning materials

OECD, (2017). PISA 2015 COLLABORATIVE PROBLEM-SOLVING FRAMEWORK CAMPBELL, K.L.I. GARFORTH, C. HEFFERNAN, C. MORTON, J. PATERSON, R. RYMER, C. UPTON, M. (2006): The Problem Tree. Analysis of the causes and effects of problems. ODI (2009): Problem Tree Analysis. Successful Communication: Planning Tools. London: Overseas Development Institute


The activity lasts 4 hours:
Introduction ½ hour
Execution 3 hour
Closure ½ hour

Role of the Teachers

The teacher participates in the activity and collaborates with the career educator. His/her role is to facilitate the engagement of students and their learning achievement. Teacher evaluate the activities and integrate them with curriculum and disciplines.


Inquiry based learning (active learning & experential learning) Students will understand they can make a positive impact on society


We evaluate:
  • Student engagement and participation in working group
  • Capacity to problem-finding and problem-analysis
The evaluation tool:
  • Checklist for observing the interaction dynamic in the working group
  • Checklist for analysis of maps and problem trees realized by student groups