The Wicked Problem of Complex Thinking – SOLVED

During this semester, my group and I have been working hard to uncover the details and research involved in answering one essential question – “Why don’t students think complexly?” After questioning, researching, questioning our questions and researching more, we have finally uncovered the answer to this “wicked problem” and found a solution.
The process of finding a solution was interesting, unlike anything I’ve ever tried before. It followed a questioning technique created by Rothstein and Santana as referenced in Warren Berger’s book A More Beautiful Question. (Berger, 2014, p.61)
We followed the following 6 steps in finding a solution to our problem. 

Screen Shot 2016-08-14 at 11.11.07 AM.png

We began the process by asking a total of sixty questions, which we later narrowed down to 3.

  1. Why do teachers need to teach complex thinking?
  2. Why teach complex thinking in each grade level?
  3. Why do students benefit from complex thinking?


With this information, we created an infographic, not meant to answer the questions, but to inform others of what the problem was, and why it was such a problem.

Screen Shot 2016-08-14 at 11.21.43 AM.pngFinally, we questioned and researched again, and narrowed our focus down to “what if” and “how” questions that could be asked in order to find a solution.
Our final questions were

  1. What if we could collaborate with coding and computer specialists to teach complex thiking in our classes?
  2. What if we incorporated more project based learning and open ended questions?

These two questions launched us forward in our research and we discovered that there are many possible solutions to solve the problem of complex thinking. After video chats via Google Hangouts, and the creation of an entirely new collaborative planning document, we were able to create a website to share our thinking about the following solution:

If teachers give students more opportunities for open ended questions, project based learning, and coding opportunities, complex thinking will be developed across the curriculum and embedded within multiple subject areas.

Check out our website to view the final product!




Berger, W. (2014). Why we stop questioning. A more beautiful question: The power of inquiry to spark breakthrough ideas. (page 61). New York. Bloomsbury


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