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Problem solving

Problem solving lesson plan

lesson plan about problem solving

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Download the full lesson plan pack including all related resources

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Problem Solving: Lesson plan

Problem solving: Presentation slides

Demonstrating your skills quick fire activity

Problem solving in practice: Interactive worksheet

Curriculum tags

Our problem solving content focuses on one of these skills and develops understanding of the six stages of problem solving, as well as identifying different types of situations in which young people might already be using these skills. Furthermore, it encourages them to use an adaptive approach, explaining that different types of problems can be approached in different ways.

The activities on this page support your teaching of these skills through an independent activity, quick activities or a full length, curriculum-linked lesson plan. 

Teaching resources:

  • Problem solving: Lesson plan and presentation slides – full lesson plan including icebreaker for use with a group of students in the classroom
  • Demonstrating your skills: Quick-fire activity   – 10 minute activity for a group of students in the classroom, can be used as an icebreaker for the lesson plan
  • Problem solving in practice: Interactive worksheet – activity for independent learning whether remote or in class

Lesson plan

(60 -75 minutes)

This lesson is designed to equip young people with an adaptable approach to solving problems, large or small. It includes a short film and scenarios that encourage development of practical problem solving skills which can be useful for learning, day to day life, and when in employment.

By the end of the lesson, students will be able to:

  • Identify problems of different scales and what is needed to solve them
  • Illustrate the use of an adaptable approach to solving problems
  • Understand that problem solving is a core transferable skill and identify its usefulness in a work setting
  • Work on a problem solving activity in a team

The lesson aims to reinforce students’ understanding of the potential future applications of this skill as they move into the world of work, particularly in an activity differentiated for an older or more able group on creating new opportunities.

Quick-fire activity

(5 - 10 minutes)

The demonstrating your skills quick-fire activity focuses on helping young people understand the key skills that are needed in the workplace, including the importance of problem solving.

Students will be asked to name the skills being demonstrated in a variety of scenarios, and identify ways they’re already using those skills in this short activity.

You might find it useful as a starter or icebreaker activity to begin a lesson, or at the end to allow students to put what they have just learnt in the Problem solving lesson into practice.

Interactive worksheet

(20 - 25 minutes)

Please note that students below the age of 14 cannot sign up for their own LifeSkills account. Any independent tasks must be printed or downloaded and provided digitally for them to complete as they are currently hosted on educator pages.

The Problem solving in practice interactive worksheet introduces some of the themes from the full lesson plan and gives students some practical strategies for problem solving, including introducing the six stages of problem solving. The worksheet can be printed or completed digitally, so can be used flexibly to give students practise putting their problem solving skills into action. You might choose to assign it:

  • As homework following the Problem solving lesson
  • For independent study
  • For remote learning

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Other lessons that may prove useful for students to build on these activities include the  Adaptability  and  Innovation and idea generation  lessons. Alternatively, consider encouraging them to apply their skills through  Steps to starting a business  or the  Social action toolkit .

Why not build problem solving in as a focus in your students’ wider curriculum? Refer to our  Content guide to find out how this resources can be used as part of your teaching.

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Problem solving.

lesson plan about problem solving

Level: Upper Intermediate - Advanced

Type of English: Business English

Tags: problems at work problems and solutions declaring and diagnosing a problem making suggestions Situation based

In this lesson, students learn useful language for handling and solving problems at work. Vocabulary for describing different types of problems and solutions is studied. Students then listen to several dialogues and study the expressions used by the speakers to declare and diagnose a problem as well as make suggestions and take action. At the end of the lesson, there is a role play activity in which the language from the lesson is put into practice. There are two animated videos which can be played instead of the dialogue or given to the student(s) as material to take away.

lesson plan about problem solving



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This comprehensive course plan covers the full range of language needs – listening, role play, vocabulary development.

Lesson Plans in English for Work and Life course plan

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Type of English: Business English Level: Upper Intermediate - Advanced

lesson plan about problem solving

Type of English: General English Level: Upper Intermediate - Advanced

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Problem Solving

Please note,  all lessons and resources are supplemental to the Sarasota County Schools curriculum.

lesson plan about problem solving

Self-Management Handouts

  • Handout 1:   What Can I Do? – Problem Solving Wheel
  • Handout 2:   SEL Core Competencies

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Career Readiness | Middle School | Critical Thinking

Problem Solving Lesson Plans Your Middle School Students Will Love

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July 11th, 2022 | 8 min. read

Problem Solving Lesson Plans Your Middle School Students Will Love

Bri Stauffer

For nearly 10 years, Bri has focused on creating content to address the questions and concerns educators have about teaching classes, preparing students for certifications, and making the most of the iCEV curriculum system.

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Need resources for teaching problem solving in your middle school career readiness classes?

As a career readiness curriculum developer, middle school teachers often ask if we have resource to help teach problem solving.

While our digital curriculum includes content on critical thinking, decision making, and other 21st Century skills , our solution may not be the best fit for everyone.

Our Business&ITCenter21 curriculum is designed to teach dozens of skills such as professionalism, communication, public speaking, digital citizenship, and more.

However some teachers are only looking for supplemental problem solving lessons and activities to add to their existing curriculum.

To help you teach these skills, we've found four popular providers of problems soling lessons and activities for middle school:

  • TeacherVision
  • Ed Creative

All of these resources have both pros and cons, so looking at each one individually is key when planning your problem solving lessons!

1. TeacherVision's Problem Solving Lesson


TeacherVision is a digital resource that offers free online lesson plans, including a problem solving lesson.

This problem solving lesson has two key objectives:

  • Students will be introduced to a problem-solving procedure
  • Students will participate in a structured practice of resolving conflict

Along with the lesson objectives, you'll find the materials list and the procedure for completing the lesson.

That makes TeacherVision a robust resource with an easy to follow lesson plan for introducing students to problem solving.

On the downside, the lesson is listed as being appropriate for students between first and eighth grade.

That means you may want to bulk it up a bit in order to really be relevant and engaging to your middle school students.

2. Ed Creative's Problem Solving and Critical Thinking Lesson Plans


Ed Creative   is a subdivision of that collects lesson plans from other online resources.

That makes Ed Creative one of the best lesson plan databases online.

It includes a variety of lesson plans and activities to teach creativity , problem solving, and critical thinking skills .

Many of these lessons are intended for children up to   eighth grade. That means you'll likely find some resources that fit perfectly in your middle school classes.

In addition, some lessons overlap with other subjects you may need to teach in your career readiness classes. For example, one resource is entitled   Thinking Critically About Advertising and would tie in well with lessons on media literacy .

The lesson encourages students to consider behind the scenes angles when presented with ads, encouraging them to think critically and logically about   why   the ad is what it is.

Still, these resources are a little disorganized which means it will take you time to review each option and decide if it's a good fit.

3. BrainPOP's Critical Thinking and Problem Solving Activities


BrainPOP   is an educational resource provider with many teaching resources for every grade level.

In this case, their critical thinking and problem solving lesson plan is intended for any student from   sixth to 12th grade.

In this lesson, students will:

  • Apply critical thinking, problem solving, and decision-making skills to online game play and writing tasks
  • Analyze situations from multiple perspectives and viewpoints
  • Distinguish between facts, opinions, and solutions
  • Demonstrate 21st Century skills such as global awareness, information literacy , communication , and collaboration

BrainPOP lays out the procedure, materials, and everything else you’ll need for the lesson — even time approximations!

That thorough approach to detail makes it easier for you to plan different tasks you’ll carry out throughout the lesson each day.

Even if the lesson takes you a full week, you can still plan appropriately and stay on task.

Unfortunately, BrainPOP doesn’t have a lot of downloadable resources that you can print and use in the classroom.

4. TEDEd's Resources for Teaching Problem Solving Skills


TEDEd   is an active advocate of education and learning materials. That’s why they have an enormous section of their website dedicated to problem solving skills .

In this section, you’ll find videos and interactive tasks that walk students through riddles, problems, and complications to find desirable results.

Every riddle and problem comes with an answer, so you don’t have to worry about figuring it out yourself. Even better, you can be sure that there’s a practical solution to every issue.

Best of all, you leave students with the freedom to innovate their own solutions, potentially creating a   new solution   that a riddle maker hadn’t considered.

The varying complexity and length of these lessons makes them ideal for a variety of grade levels, however you can choose to filter specifically for middle school.

On the downside, these aren’t literal “lesson plans.” TEDEd provides a whole host of resources, but they’re not contextualized for a classroom.

Instead, you’ll have to build your lessons   around   these resources to get the best results.

This makes TEDEd an excellent catchall for any time you need problem solving materials.

You’ll just have to do a little extra work to make it classroom ready.

Which Problem Solving Lessons Are Best?

Overall, there isn't a simple "best" option for teaching problem solving in middle school. It all depends on the needs of you, your course, and your students.

Each of the resources we've shared could be a great addition to your career readiness curriculum.

However, if you need a curriculum that includes problem solving skills among other career readiness topics, consider looking into Business&ITCenter21.

Thousands of teachers like you use the curriculum to teach  career exploration ,  personal financial literacy ,  communication skills ,  professionalism , and more.

Overall, it helps you save time with planning, assessing, and grading student work all while maximizing student understanding and information retention.

Wondering if Business&ITCenter21 could work for your classroom? Check out our Critical Thinking curriculum module to learn more:

lesson plan about problem solving

Problem solving with 5 Whys

  • Business Skills

Asking questions

lesson plan about problem solving

photo of the author


In this lesson, we want to focus on a very popular problem solving technique called  5 Whys (5W) . If your students know something about Six Sigma or Lean, they should be familiar with this technique. Otherwise, they will learn a useful method for problem solving and practise asking questions .


The lesson starts with a quick warm-up speaking task about problems and how students approach solving them. Then, they watch a short video introducing 5 Whys , a problem-solving method developed by Sakichi Toyoda, a Japanese inventor and industrialist, and answer the questions.

Afterwards, your students will practise using the technique based on an example. First, they need to study the example and then fill in the other graph by asking 5 why questions to get to the root cause. Answers in this task may vary. Let your students be creative there. The aim of the task is to get them familiar with using 5 Whys. Finally, in the last task, students will use the technique to find root causes for problems they’ve had at work.


This worksheet goes well with the following lesson plans:

  • How to use questioning techniques to get better answers
  • Questions no one knows the answers to

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Lesson Plan: Introduction to Problem Solving


In this lesson, students are introduced to problem solving techniques in the field of Engineering and Technology. Students are also encouraged to think critically and apply fundamental principles of system modeling and design to multiple design projects.

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