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Social Problem Solving Activities for High School

Instructor: Christopher Muscato

Chris has a master's degree in history and teaches at the University of Northern Colorado.

High school students need to learn not only how to think creatively, but often how to do so in a social setting. These activities will help with problem-solving, communication, and social skills.

Social Problem Solving

When employing problem-solving activities in your classroom, you're often trying to accomplish multiple things at once. Yes, you want to students to expand their thinking and creativity, but also to work on communication and socialization skills. The following activities are specifically designed to help students practice social skills and communication through group problem solving.

The Silent Burrito

Print of pieces of paper with images of these ingredients: tortilla, lettuce, meat, cheese, rice, and two extra ingredients of your choice. You can add other ingredients as well, depending on the size of your classroom. In class, tape one ingredient to each student's back, without letting them see what it is. Students will have to organize themselves into groups so that they have all the ingredients to make a full burrito (one tortilla, one meat, one cheese, one rice, one of each extra ingredient). The trick is that they cannot speak during this activity, and must find ways to communicate and organize nonverbally.

  • Materials: Papers with ingredients

Group Timeline

Divide the class into small groups. Provide each group with a long piece of paper, a ruler, and writing supplies. Students are going to make a timeline, and place each of their birthdates on it. Each person will then select three important events from their life to add to the timeline as well. However, no student can write their own events onto the timeline. They have to explain it to another group member and have that person add it to the timeline.

  • Materials: Long paper, rulers, writing supplies, art and craft supplies as desired

Blindfold Tower

Divide the class into pairs, and give each pair a random assortment of objects. One partner will then be blindfolded. The partner that can see will give verbal instructions to the blindfolded partner and try to walk them through the process of building a tower using the objects provided. The seeing partner can hand items to the blindfolded partner, but otherwise cannot touch them. They must describe in careful detail how to move and where to place objects in order to build the tower. Let partners switch roles whenever the tower collapses.

  • Materials: Random objects, blindfold

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