Unit Title

What Do You Do With a Problem?


Grade 4-5

Designed by

Laurie Dukes

Time Frame

January-April 2017

Stage 1- Desired Results

Establish Goals

  • Students will seek out solutions to a global question or challenge.
  • Students will organize and synthesize information found online
  • Students will document their research progress using digital tools
  • Students will create a digital product to showcase their learning and inspire others to action.


Learners will be able to....

What kinds of long-term independent accomplishments are desired?

  • Recognize the power of self-learning
  • Recognize their own ability to seek out answers to questions and problems
  • Effectively research information online
  • Synthesize information for deeper learning
  • Innovate and propose solutions based on their learning
  • Use digital tools to document their learning



Learners will understand that...

  • Progress in our world relies on inquiry and problem-solving
  • Individuals have the power to self-learn and seek out answers
  • Finding solutions requires time, patience, and a willingness to actively explore all aspects of an issue
  • Questions, problems, and ideas often require an interdisciplinary approach
  • Effective collaboration is an important part of moving forward with an idea.

Essential Questions

Learners will keep considering...

  • How they can impact positive change in our world by getting involved in issues of importance to them
  • How they can effectively share their voice and present information in a way that reaches others
  • How they can work with others to enact change


Learners  will know…

  • That self-learning is powerful and meaningful
  • That they can seek out answers and solutions for any idea, challenge or problem
  • That trial and error is a normal part of seeking solutions
  • That questions and ideas sometimes shift and change as they deepen their inquiry
  • That grit, determination, and risk-taking are an important part of innovation and problem-solving

Learners will be skilled at...

  • Researching a topic online
  • Comparing and synthesizing information
  • Developing possible solutions and innovations
  • Documenting their learning
  • Showcasing their learning digitally

Stage 2- Evidence


Learners will show that they understand by evidence of…

GRASPS Task written in student-friendly language:


You will seek out answers to a question or problem of interest to you.


You are a concerned Global Citizen who seeks to learn more about an issue and how you can make a difference.


You will share your work online with a global audience.


You will develop a driving question, research that question, and propose an idea or solution that might help with that problem.  


You will create a digital product to share what you have learned and inspire others to action.  


Learners  will show they have achieved Stage 1 goals by demonstrating their understanding through the Six Facets of Understanding...


Students will create a digital product of their choice which will share and explain their findings and possible solutions about an issue, idea, or challenge.


Students will research multiple sources online, organize and synthesize their learning, and interpret their findings to determine possible ideas and solutions.


Students will engage in real-world application by sharing their projects online to raise awareness and encourage action.

Have perspective

By engaging in the inquiry process, students will gain perspective about the time, patience, and effort that is required to innovate and find solutions to problems.


As students research questions and challenges, they will develop empathy for those who are struggling with those issues and ideally, will be inspired to action and make a difference.

Have self-knowledge

Students will reflect on their ability to self-learn and their willingness to take action as a global citizen.  

Stage 3- Learning Plan

Time Frame

Learning Events

Progress Monitoring

Week 1: Introduction (30 minutes)

  • Read Aloud book: What Do You Do With a Problem?  by Kobi Yamada
    Discuss how progress and change is a result of people taking time to research and seek answers to problems and challenges.
  • Share video: Moving Windmills: The William Kamkwamba Story.  Have students share their reflections about the video on a Padlet.
  • Explain that in the coming weeks, they will also seek out answers to a challenge or problem.  Encourage them to spend some time this week thinking about a global issue or challenge of interest to them.  We will share these next week.

Padlet responses

Week 2:
Big Topics

  • Review last week’s discussion about seeking out answers to a problem and trying to make a difference.  Booktalk a few books about people who saw a problem and did something about it: One Plastic Bag, Mama Miti, Brave Clara, etc.
  • Show Kids Go Global Website on interactive board and briefly look at headings for various global issues.  
  • Exploration time:  Using their iPads, have students navigate to the Kids Go Global site and and browse topics that interest them.  
  • Sharing:  At tables, have students discuss which of these issues are most important to them.  What would they change if they had the power?
  • Exit form:  Have students go to the Google Form via my blog to share which topic(s) are currently of most concern to them.

Google Form

Week 3:
Driving Question

  • Read aloud: One Plastic Bag, by Miranda Paul.  Discuss how Isatou saw a problem and came up with a solution.
  • Have students navigate to the Project Planner Template via my blog.  Have them Make a copy and save as follows: Name Class Project Planner.  
  • Have the students share the document with me at ldukes@aisr.org.
  • Show the response document for the issues they were interested in last week.  Explain that today, they will be choosing a “big problem” to begin exploring, and they will come up with a question about that problem which they would like to answer.  They can use the big topic from last week, or they can choose any global issue of importance to them.  
  • Provide examples of Big Topics and Possible Driving Questions.
  • Research Time:  Give students time to continue exploring topics online and in the library.  
  • Exit: Before going to book checkouts, they should fill in the “Big Topic” and “Driving Question” portions of the planning document.

Monitor individual student planners and assist students in refining questions as needed.

Weeks 4-10:
Learn All About It and Culminating Projects

  • Students will continue filling in their project planners.
  • They will spend time exploring their topic online and continue filling in their planner as they find relevant websites and information to answer their question.
  • They will use the Wonder, Explore, Discover Libguide as a research reference as needed.
  • Those with similar topics may collaborate, but they must each fill in their own document.
  • Students will complete a digital project to show what they have learned about their topic, inspire others to action, or document an innovation to help solve a problem. They may collaborate on the final project.  It can be a video, podcast, digital book, infographic, or other product which can be shared online.
  • They will fill in the project checklist as they complete tasks related to the project.

Monitor individual student planners and provide support as needed.

Student project checklists (Included at bottom of student planner)

Resources / Materials:

  • YouTube Videos for inspiration:
  • Books to Display and Share
  • Mama Miti, by Donna Napoli
  • Listen to the Wind: The Story of Dr Greg and the Three Cups of Tea, by Greg Mortensen
  • Brave Girl: Clara and the Shirtwaist Makers Strike of 1909, by Michelle Markel
  • Malala: A Brave Girl from Pakistan/Iqbal: A Brave Boy from Pakistan, by Jeanette Winter
  • One Plastic Bag: Isatou Ceesay and the Recycling Women of the Gambia, by Miranda Paul