A group of Year 9 students at Liskeard School & Community College were invited to join a two and a half day course focusing on effective problem solving. They were set a series of challenges associated with a possible global catastrophe which was likely to occur 25 years into the future, and had to produce a report detailing the solutions that needed to be addressed and implemented.

As would be the case if this was to happen for real, they only had access to some of the necessary vital information, and had to explain not only their solutions, but also the assumptions they were making, and how the problems would change if some of these assumptions turned out not to be true. And if that wasn’t enough, there was a deadline for this report to be completed, meaning that they were under severe time pressures. The course leader Mr Willmott said “Whilst the students had found the project required a lot of thought and carrying forward complex ideas from one part to the next, they had quite enjoyed dealing with such an immense project in such a limited amount of time.”

Members of the Trelawney Academy from Years 7, 8 and 9 took part in a course about using more focused thinking to help with problem solving. During the two and half days of the course, they had to deal with a multitude of problems including deciding whether the sequence of a series of tasks affected the eventual result, how to link together partial ideas to produce an overall result, and dealing with a series of problems where the obvious answer was not only wrong, but also made it difficult for the correct answer to be found.

In the final task, they were given details of deaths in a city caused by an unknown disease over a short period of time, and had to try to find the source and how it was spread, Furthermore, they needed to explain why certain areas had few deaths, whereas neighbouring areas had many. Mr Willmott said “The students seemed to enjoy finding out about different techniques to solve difficult problems that might previously have seemed too hard to answer.”



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Head Teacher: Mr Alex Lingard

Liskeard School & Community College
PL14 3EA

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