Week Three  “Unplugged”:  Problem Solving, Algorithms and Unexpected Outcomes!

Blog Post created by stheobald on Oct 10, 2018

Problem Solving, Algorithms and Unexpected Outcomes                                                   


In week three students were asked to develop a procedure or algorithm for sorting 4-8 cards efficiently with the cards ordered from smallest to largest. The goal was to “collaboratively develop and iteratively improve an algorithm for processing information based on given constraints” (Lesson 6 Unit 1 CS Discoveries,


What we thought students would come up with algorithms that ranged in level of efficiency.



What Actually Happened…for many students the process of creating an algorithm never got off the ground. When approaching the task several students tried once or twice and then gave up. It became apparent, during the problem solving process, that the way students responded to setbacks was an indicator of their success. Students who persevered ultimately came up with an algorithm that worked.



Where do we go from here?....... If we  identify and name successful problem solving behaviors and attitudes will resiliency increase?


Student Reflections on Problem Solving, Resiliency and developing Algorithms.

  • What problems did you encounter when completing the task?
  • What did you do when you encountered the problem?
  • Did you feel you were successful with this task?



Two different student approaches – two different outcomes





Our greatest weakness lies in giving up.

The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.”  – Thomas Edison