Date of Completion


Document Type

Open Access Capstone

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

First Advisor

Steven Schwartz

Second Advisor

John Murray

Third Advisor

Hilary Hopkins


There has been much publicity the past few years, regarding students' lack of basic skills, their inability to think clearly, and their poor use of problem solving strategies. To focus on this need, the following program has been designed to help elementary teachers introduce problem solving in an organized manner adding very little, if any extra material to the curriculum. The program aims to help students solve problems, critically, creatively, and systematically. Problem solving was chosen as the target area since the skills and strategies used are closely related to those used in reading comprehension, answering questions logically, and general good thinking. The basic approach stems from E. Paul Torrance's, "Future Problem Solving Process", (Torrance, 1972); however, it has been modified to incorporate eight stages, thus making problem solving easier for teachers to introduce to elementary students. In order for such a program to succeed, it was assumed the following criteria would have to be met: 1) Students would have a definite starting point. 2) The problem could fit into the curriculum with a minimum amount of modification. 3) Problems would move from the concrete to the abstract, from the well-defined to the complex. In order for teachers to utilize this thesis easily, the format and lesson plans are included, as is a description of a two day workshop used to introduced the program to the instructors. The rationale behind the program, a selected review of current literature in its area and a presentation of the general strategies used for effective problem solving are presented. The first lesson in each stage reveals how the program can be integrated into the present curriculum without adding substantial new material. The second lesson for each stage reveals how the program can be adapted to teach problem solving within the realm of a specific teaching unit. Both lessons contain the same goals. objectives, and strategies: therefore, with the completion of either set of lessons, instructors should feel comfortable teaching in this manner and students should be on their way to becoming independent problem solvers.