K1 Activity 3 – We’ve All Got A Problem
(Four Steps To Problem Solving)


Students are good at problem solving when they are given the guidance to discuss the situation in a conscious and caring manner. They learn it best when the process is broken down into recognizable steps. In this activity, students review the simple and practical Four Steps To Problem Solving by applying it to a current problem in the room. Or you can use a situation of teasing, name-calling or bullying that has been happening in the school, on the playground, in the cafeteria, or on the bus. These traditional four steps provide students with a framework for thinking their way through a problem instead of reacting to it.


Students review and put to practice the Four Steps To Problem Solving while applying them to real classroom situations.

Principle Overview

A sense of belonging is absolutely necessary for our health and well-being.The fragile “roots of belonging” are planted and nurtured in the elementary years. It is a crucial time for students to feel their place and purpose in the school group. From these roots, the whole child blooms into a contributing member of community. IM4U challenges all of us to seek out our purpose and experience that purpose in our lives.


Goals and Objectives:

  • Identify problems and conflicts commonly experienced by peers.
  • Identify approaches to resolving conflicts constructively.
  • Demonstrate the ability to resolve interpersonal conflicts by using the Four Steps To Problem Solving.
  • Make sure the students have been introduced to the Four Steps to Problem Solving before using this activity (See Promoting the Principle of this unit).
  • Preview the Sticking Together puppet skit video to better facilitate class discussion.
Cooperation and teamwork are integral skills for creating a sense of community. When students discover the benefits of working in groups, they learn how cooperation promotes a feeling of purpose and helps everyone feel like they are a part of a learning community. Working with others encourages important learning skills such as listening, communicating, taking turns, and participating with the group. Group work can increase creativity, problem solving, and help with difficult tasks. When we work as a team, we can win together.

  • Throughout the unit activities, review skills that are important for cooperation. For example:
    • Listen to everyone in the group.
    • Take turns.
    • Do your part.
    • Say encouraging words.
  • Students might cooperatively draw problem situations with solutions on large paper.
Skill Builder
Use these visual resources to enhance the student experience in this unit.

View In Resources

Activity Steps

  • Connector.

    Watch the Tape puppet skit video together. Ask:

    How do Uncle Jim, Sammy, and Martin talk about solving problems by sticking together?

  • Connector.

    Encourage students to talk about a situation in the classroom that needs problem solving. Invite them to share how they feel about it. Remind students how they can listen to each other without reaction.

  • Connector.

    Using the tape analogy, invite students to stick together and brainstorm ways to deal with the problem as a group. Write their ideas down.

  • Connector.

    Next, using the Four Steps To Problem Solving, talk about how their ideas fit with these four steps:

    1. State the problem.
    2. Brainstorm ALL possible solutions.
    3. Vote on a solution to try.
    4. Try the solution over the next few days or week.

    If you already have the Four Steps To Problem Solving posted in your room, ask students if they’d like to revise or modify their list based on the most recent discussion.

  • Connector.

    Next, have students think about what occurs during each one of these steps. Invite them to choose a step to illustrate. Have students make drawings of each step to add to or near the poster as visual cues.

  • Connector.

    Next, remind students of the problem they identified in step 2. Encourage them to use and have conversations about the Four Steps To Problem Solving with this challenge over the next week.

Follow Up: Later in the week, come back and allow students time to reflect on the situation and solution. Discuss how it did or didn’t work out. Encourage students to use these steps anytime they need to stick together to solve a problem!

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