Problem Solving Attitudes & Behaviours

For a while now I have been working on understanding problem solving attitudes that are useful in computing.

This ideas is based on the work of Chris Stephenson & Joyce Malyn-Smith expressed through their blog on computational thinking from a disposition perspective. Initially alerted to this idea by Mark Dorling as part of an exciting wider project to help assess attitudes to learning computing. We have come up with an exciting behaviour rubric that I am pleased to host on code-it.

Behaviour Rubric

The draft behavior rubric can be used to help leaders assess learning within computing and help teachers to design planning that uses a wide range of problem solving behaviors. I use it to aid curricular design and lesson observation. Alongside the CAS document on Computational thinking I think it should be essential reading for all who manage computing in school.

Draft Behaviour Rubric Worked on with Mark Dorling

Problem Solving Posters

I wanted a way to help pupils value and concentrate on some of these areas within computing lessons so developed these posters. I have really enjoyed using these in the classroom / computing suite where I have a copy of them up on the wall. I choose one or two to focus on in a lesson by providing an A3 frame which is provided below. I have mitigated some of the language for my KS2 pupils through the use of a word list which is also below. They are fantastic for programming projects but I have also found myself using them in all areas of computing. I don’t think these should be just limited to computing either and lots of the teachers in my schools have stopped to talk about how relevant these are across the curriculum.

Computational Attitudes Posters PDF

Word definitions PDF

A3 Overlay PDF

Problem Solving Assessment

After using the problem solving attitudes posters and stickers successfully with the classes I teach I wanted to track pupils problem solving development and help them to identify the progress they have made in computing. Depending on the age of the pupil and the project complexity, I choose one, two or three focus areas or if pupils are in upper key stage 2 I leave it up to them to choose.

Pupils identify when they have used these skills and record what they did alongside the sticker.

For large projects pupils can also record their before and after positions using this sheet.

problem solve assessment sheet v2 PDF

Year 3 (7-8 year olds) explaining how they extended their projects

Problem Solving Stickers 14 Stickers to a page
You can find printable blank sticker packs of 100 here
You can find packs of 500 here


Problem Solving Skills A Brief Overview


The overlap between Problem Solving and Computational Thinking

For a Swedish translation see here thanks to Linda Mannila

Problem Solving Attitudes Video

If you are wondering what this would look like in a computing project I have made the following video to help.


img_4480 img_4800

Planning that uses problem solving approach

You can also find new planning that uses these ideas here

Thanks & Permissions

Attitudes and grid are inspired by the Behaviour Rubric created with @MarkDorling