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Problem Solving

Social Studies Lessons for High School is designed for social studies teachers to use with their government and history courses. It was developed in response to a shift in education throughout our country: a move away from rote memorization and toward the critical thinking skills necessary for many of the new performance assessment programs.

Each lesson will enable teachers to teach seven specific critical thinking skills in a step-by-step process. The information has been adapted for old media and new media formats. Web sites will be provided that will allow teachers to choose the most appropriate resource for the selected activity. All selections can be copied for classroom use. Teachers may adapt activities to allow students to complete assignments via the web.

Robert O. Black is a social studies teacher at the Harbor City Learning Center, and former Teachers Network web mentor.


This lesson is included because of the many contemporary problems faced by all levels of government. As citizens, students will have to be able to propose and evaluate solutions. Have students practice frequently with the template using various issues mentioned in newspapers, news magazines, and the following web sites:

Sample Web Sites

ABC News 

CNN News

New York Times

Afro American Newspapers

The lesson plan and sample student response sheet were developed to match:

Students will utilize principles of economic costs and benefits and opportunity cost to analyze the effectiveness of government policy in achieving socio-economic goals.

Students will evaluate solutions and strategies used to solve problems.

Students will need statistics on taxes, demographics, and businesses for this lesson. Provide local community data if possible, or use this information:

Maryland sales tax
County income tax
County property tax
Residents with children in school
Major businesses/employers
Other revenue sources 

$.05 per dollar
55% of federal income tax
$2.00 per $1000 assessed value
(will vary)
Recreation fees, lotteries, etc.

Below is the funding problem that students will use in this lesson. Make an overhead transparency or place it on the board.

The local government needs $10 million to repair aging schools and must decide on the best way to raise this money.


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