4. Critical Thinking, Problem Solving, and Decision Making


GR K-2


After an early summertime recess, students return to Ms. V.'s classroom complaining that it's much too hot on the playground.  They decide they need some shade and proceed to figure out how they might get it.


Students develop a plan to dispose of the cafeteria and classroom waste. 


Students gather data from their peers about their eating habits, fitness and snacking. Students want to offer their peers suggestions for better snacking and how to stay healthy. This information will be shared with the principal, food service staff, teachers, and peers. Students will participate in a walking challenge to measure the distance they can walk around the playground.



GR 3-5


Students look at the issue of paper consumption in their classroom and in their school.  After collecting and analyzing the data they realize that the issue of paper usage is a school wide problem and they start a paper-recycling program in the school.

Outdoor Learning Spaces

As part of a school board initiative to redesign the land around the school, a multiage classroom develops a plan for interactive outdoor learning spaces.  The students develop four learning spaces called “Froggy Bottom”, “Today’s Weather”, “Shhh! Quiet”, and “Plants Plants!”.


The students transform a piece of unused school property into a garden.  Students work with local community members throughout the process.  They find a garden-partner classroom in Global Gardens, where they document the growing process together on their wiki, comparing and contrasting how different climates grow different plants.

GR 6-8

Students use data to make a strong case for altering the health-related choices available at their school. An improved understanding of data collection techniques and analysis prepares these students to make healthier choices. 

Saving Our Streams

Students work collaboratively in teams to develop solutions and recommendations for stream bank preservation through erosion prevention on a river in their community.  They collect data, research solutions, and raise funds to employ their solutions.  

Cellphones + Driving = Accidents

Vermont students collaborate with students from schools in other states to analyze data regarding cell phone use while driving.  Accident data is collected and compared from states that have enacted laws that prohibits or restricts cell phone use while driving to those states that have no such laws.  Students also collect data to determine if laws do, in fact, lower the incidence of cell phone use while driving. Students analyze their findings and prepare videos to share with driver education classes, their communities, and their respective state legislatures.


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