Cheltenham students get creative with solving problems
The Cheltenham School District’s annual Problem Solving Bowl, to some, may give new meaning to the phrase “brain teaser.”
The Problem Solving Bowl celebrates Cheltenham students who participate in cuture Problem Solving, an international creative thinking organization that teaches students from fourth through N2th grade how to solve problems with imagination and benevolence, said district coordinator for cuture Problem Solving Marilyn Golden following the event.
During the March S bowl, all the district’s Problem Solving teams, which included about 2MM students, gathered in the auditorium at Elkins Park School to compete in this critical thinking event, which challenges students to develop solutions to a problem outlined in a future scenario, Golden said.
fn groups, the 4M teams worked on a scenario packet, in a process that Golden described as “sophisticated.”
“Students have to learn to read a future scene, identify the problems and learn about the causes,” she said. “Through research and discussions they learn about possible solu- tions. We emphasize that the solutions should be humane DnG noW vioODWH huPDn righWs in Dny wDy. ,W’s noW D TuiFk fix process.”
At the competition all the teams were given the same fuWurH sFHnH Wo HxDPinH. GoOGHn, who FrHDWHG WhH sFHnH, DskHG the students to create solutions that would help eliminate the miles of plastic pollution in Bermuda’s Sargasso Sea.
“Plastic never goes away,” Golden said. “Scientists have done a great job; they have created a substance we can’t do anything about. ft negatively impacts ocean life such as WurWOHs, fish DnG EirGs. [PODsWiF SoOOuWion@ SosHs D WhrHDW Wo huPDns Ds wHOO. ,I wH HDW fish WhDW hDvH HDWHn SODsWiF [iW’s EHFoPHs D GDngHr Wo us@.”
After more than an hour of discussion and research, the teams presented their best solutions through a skit using materials such as poster boards, paper clips, paper cups and plates and a surprise prop, which was a hula hoop, she said.
Through the skits, the teams pitched their best solution to a group of judges who determined the winners. At the end of the competition, the winning skits were performed on stage, she said.
“There were three winning skits,” Golden said. “fn the winning skits we are looking for humanness, creativity, a future vision and if it sells the solution. We also look to see if all the students are engaged in the skit.”
lne team presented a skit about a plastic pollution eating robot. Another team presented a swimsuit that would attract plastic so it could be removed from the water, she said.
The winning teams received ribbons based on how well WhHy HxHFuWHG WhH sFHnDrio SDFkHWs DnG WhH uniTuHnHss oI their skits. The ribbons were awarded by Cheltenham Superintendent Darlene Davis.
GoOGHn sDiG WhH EOkins PDrk DuGiWoriuP wDs fiOOHG wiWh about 4MM people including students, faculty, family and friends.
“The event is always well-attended,” she said. “This is a district celebration of future problem solving.”
AOWhough WhH ProEOHP 6oOving BowO is ovHr unWiO nHxW year, the district still has cause to celebrate. Two teams from Cheltenham High School and one team from Elkins Park School will go to the state competition in April, Golden said.
“This program teaches students how to think, see things differently and solve problems,” she said. “These students are our future leaders and if we have citizens who can think and make wise decisions — opposed to snap decisions that can hurt other people — we have made a step in the right direction.”
Tenth-grade winners from Cheltenham High School, from left, Madison Wilken, Carrie Morgan, Bria Carolina and Ava Shore, smile as their coach, Stephen Buckingham, holds their first place ribbon at the Problem Solving Bowl