Author:
Bonnie Waltz, Deanna Mayers, Tracy Rains
Subject:
English Language Arts
Material Type:
Lesson Plan
Level:
High School
Grade:
9, 10, 11, 12
Tags:
  • English
  • NE ELA
  • Nebraska Department of Education
  • Research Writing
  • Tuition
  • ne-ela
    License:
    Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial
    Language:
    English
    Media Formats:
    Downloadable docs, Interactive, Text/HTML, Video

    Education Standards

    Problem Based Module: The College Debt Crisis

    Problem Based Module: The College Debt Crisis

    Overview

    In this project, you will explore a real-world problem, and then work through a series of steps to analyze that problem, research ways the problem could be solved, then propose a possible solution to that problem. Often, there are no specific right or wrong solutions, but sometimes one particular solution may be better than others. The key is making sure you fully understand the problem, have researched some possible solutions, and have proposed the solution that you can support with information / evidence.

    Begin by reading the problem statement in Step 1. Take the time to review all the information provided in the statement, including exploring the websites, videos and / or articles that are linked. Then work on steps 2 through 8 to complete this problem-based learning experience.

    THE PROBLEM

    THE PROBLEM

    The average cost of college tuition in 1977 was $2,600 per year. This year, the cost is almost $10,000. Add room and board, and the cost is around $20,000. The rising prices have left thousands of college graduates in serious debt. And as the prices continue to rise, teachers and parents continue to encourage children to pursue college degrees. In fact, the influx of college students and graduates has resulted in a national student loan liability of $1.4 trillion.

    So where is this tuition train headed? Will the costs continue to rise? Is the simple answer to do your own research, to crunch the numbers and find the absolute cheapest college price tag? Or is there a different path to follow, such as continuing a discussion of free or affordable tuition for everyone? Another option, and a potential reality in the near future, is the trend of choosing not to go to college and, instead, opting for trade schools, the military, or a career right out of high school.

    Use your best research writing skills as you address this issue. Keep in mind that a researcher writes much differently than a novelist, a poet, or someone sending a quick email.

    DEFINE THE ISSUE

    DEFINE THE ISSUE

    Think

    1. How could you sort/classify/categorize this problem? What type of problem is it?

    2. What is the motive/underlying theme/message?

    Do

    • Use your words to summarize the problem in 4-6 sentences.

    WHAT DO YOU KNOW

    WHAT DO YOU KNOW

    Think

    1. List the keywords from the case study. Put a check beside words you are familiar with prior to starting this project.

    2. Brainstorm and categorize to create a list of the significant parts of this problem.

    Do

    • Make a chart showing what you know that will help you solve the problem.

    ANALYZE THE CASE INFORMATION

    ANALYZE THE CASE INFORMATION

    Think

    1. Determine if the information is based on fact or opinion.

    2. Distinguish relevant/irrelevant information from the current case study and provided resources.

    3. How would you compare/contrast the constraints and opportunities of the problem?

    4. Infer and explain information that is important to the case solution, but is not explicitly stated in the case.

    Do

    • Develop and write out the problem statement in your own words.

    POSSIBLE SOLUTIONS

    POSSIBLE SOLUTIONS

    Think

    1. What are other possible outcomes?

    2. Analyze and explain the multiple perspectives/solutions within this case.

    3. What conclusions can you draw from your research?

    4. Generate alternative solutions.

    Do

    • Gather, organize, and interpret information from multiple sources.

    • Based on what you know, defend your preferred solution.

    RESEARCH SOLUTION

    RESEARCH SOLUTION

    Think

    1. Research the knowledge and data you need to support the solution and fill in missing gaps.

    2. Investigate and draw conclusions about how the preferred solution impacts the world today.

    3. What changes to your preferred solution will/have you made?

    4. What evidence justifies your solution?

    Do

    • Select decision criteria.

    • Analyze and evaluate alternatives.

    CONSTRUCT CONCLUSIONS

    CONSTRUCT CONCLUSIONS

    Think

    1. Review your research and develop a solution, providing supporting documentation to convince others of your solution.

    2. Decide if you will be creating an argument or a model to illustrate your solution.

    Do

    • Develop a plan/proposal with supporting documentation to convince others of your solution.

    • Make sure to include the following items in your proposal.  (Feel free to include additional information as you need to explain your solution.)

    • Describe your findings and/or recommendations.

    • List the problem statement questions.

    • Break down the data you gathered into an analysis that supports your solution(s) or recommendation(s).

    • Summarize the process you used and options considered, along with any difficulties you encountered.

    • Your presentation can be a video of yourself presenting your model or argument, or it can be an animated video using infographics and other images.

    REFLECTIONS

    REFLECTIONS

    Think

    1. How did you decide to…?

    2. What seemed difficult?

    3. What seemed (or eventually became) easy?

    4. If you were to do any part of this over, what would it be and how would you change it?

    5. What did you learn about the topic or about yourself during this project?

    Do

    Write a 3-5 paragraph reflection essay including these three parts:

    1. Include an introduction where you focus directly on explaining what aspect of your experiences you will discuss in the reflection.

    2. The body of the essay should explain how you have changed or what you have learned. Make certain to explain what things caused you to change.

    3. In the conclusion of a reflective essay, you should discuss how you have changed and the effect of those changes. You should share how you think the experience will change you in the future.