Technology Problem Solving Activities

Instructor: Christopher Muscato

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

Many of the world's modern problems will be solved with technology, so why not get students thinking about this now? These activities can help your students start thinking about technology in new ways.

Problem Solving and Technology

Today's students are generally eager to use technology in the classroom, and for good reason. The world that they're growing up in, and the world they are preparing for, is one in which more and more problems are resolved using modern technologies. The following activities will help students think about technology and engineering as they apply to problem solving. These activities are adaptable to different grades but are designed for general classrooms. They can be adapted to technology-specific courses such as a programming class, but this will require more modifications.

Technology Problem Solving Activities

Design an App

Divide the class into small groups. Have each group draw a random slip of paper with either a scenario or problem that people face in daily life. In their groups, students will discuss their prompt. Their job will be to design an app that could be used to solve this problem or make this aspect of life easier. The group will have 30 minutes to come up with as many details about the app as they can, before pitching it to the board (the rest of the class). After the presentation, the rest of the class can ask questions about this app's purpose and functionality. You can modify this activity by asking students to create computer-based solutions to large-scale problems instead of daily problems, such as combating climate change.

  • Materials: Slips of paper with daily scenarios or problems, writing, and art supplies as desired

Text Chess

Using chalk or tape, create a grid and set up a basic checkerboard. Divide the class into two teams, and ask the students to set up a group text or chat with the other members of their team. Assemble students onto the checkerboard. If you have more students than spaces, they can wait on the sidelines and offer support, switching out with other players as need be.

With this setup, your students will play checkers against each other. They may not talk during this game, but can only communicate with their team members via their phones. Since each team can only make one move per turn, students will have to communicate and coordinate their strategies. It may be wise to give students a time limit for each turn. This relatively simple activity can help students better appreciate the role of technology in workplace communication, something that often has to be managed between many people all trying to accomplish a task together.

  • Materials: Chalk or tape, cell phones

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