Problem: Discover, ask, wonder
At the PPDAC – Problem Stage of the cycle, learners are following their curiosity to find a problem they would like to investigate. This could come from personal interest to find out more on a topic, but it is also often prompted by reading or watching a claim in the media. We should encourage learners to be sceptical and to question whether a claim can be true.
- Have the opportunity to learn in an information-rich environment (containing books, posters, reputable websites and documentaries) which encourages them to take an interest in the world around them and motivates them to find new problems to solve or new questions to answer;
- Have opportunities to read and watch claims based on data, for example from politicians, charities, companies and other organisations which may have an agenda;
- With support, formulate a specific question which can be answered using data within a problem-solving approach.
Thinking of new questions to answer (also known as problem finding) is highly creative. Some learners are particularly curious by nature and regularly seek answers to questions such as “How many…?”; “What is…?”; or “Why does…?”. Others might seek to answer a question to find a fairer outcome for a particular group (such as looking for evidence about how town planning decisions impact women because they have different routines and requirements for public transport to men). Other learners may be motivated to prove that a claim is wrong because it is a topic which affects their lives (such as examining the evidence on the impact of screen time on health) or simply because they enjoy arguing.
The PPDAC – Problem Stage can be introduced to learners of all ages, with age and stage appropriate questions.