TCI Teaching Strategy: Problem Solving Groupwork

When students work effectively in small groups, the benefits are bountiful: increased tolerance for others, collaborative problem solving, effective negotiation, more equitable interaction. But when groupwork doesn’t go smoothly, such results as hurt feelings, unequal interaction, bickering, and woes are likely to be just as plentiful.

TCI’s Problem Solving Groupwork activities are designed to teach students the skill they need to work together successfully in small groups, both in your classroom and later in life. During Problem Solving Groupwork tasks, students sit in mixed-ability groups to tackle challenging projects, such as preparing a dramatization of some aspect of history or creating a puzzle showing what good neighbors do. The projects require the use of multiple abilities so that every student can contribute. Each student has a well-defined role—such as director, scriptwriter, stage manager, or graphic designer. As groups are engaged in the activity, the teacher serves as a resource and checks off the successful completion of several steps along the way. Afterward, groups present their projects to the class.

To guide a successful Problem Solving Groupwork activity in your classroom, keep these steps in mind:

  1. Prepare all students for successful groupwork.
  2. Assign engaging multiple-ability projects.
  3. Give group members clearly defined roles and requirements.
  4. Give groups autonomy and time to prepare high-quality products.
  5. Allow groups to showcase their work. 


See this short video tutorial on Problem Solving Groupwork.  If you have a TCI subscription for your class, thumb through the table of contents to see which upcoming lessons use this strategy.  If you are new to TCI or our programs, learn more about our award-winning K-12 curriculum here.

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