When long-time teacher Kat Voss found Global Problem Solvers: The Series (GPS: The Series) through an online search, she was just looking for a way to teach her K-8 kids about entrepreneurship, but soon she discovered it could be used for more. Kat is a special area teacher at Marley Park Elementary in the Phoenix Metropolitan Area, where she teaches the iExplore Lab. Based in the school’s library, the lab develops digital citizenship, design thinking, problem-solving, and 21st century skills through real-world exercises.
“It’s perfect for my middle grades – it grows with them,” Kat says. She introduced GPS: The Series to her 4th and 5th grade students a year ago and plans to expand to her 6th graders this year. So far, she’s taught the supplemental curriculum to nearly 150 students.
“I start off by asking a series of discussion questions, including ‘what do you think is entrepreneurship?,’ ‘what is social justice?,’ and ‘what is the difference between equity and equality?’” says Kat. Then over a two-week period, she shows one three- to five-minute episode each day and uses the discussion questions and worksheet for each episode from the Teacher’s Guides in her 30-minute class.
“We talk about what happens in the episode and a lot about the characters, which naturally leads kids to talking about themselves,” she explains. “I ask the kids which of the character traits or skills (like creativity, digital skills, or teamwork) they see in themselves and they really enjoy it.” She then groups the kids by skillset, connecting students who had never worked together before.
“GPS: The Series is definitely a great resource to open up discussions about how students can solve problems to make the world a better place. It’s a great way to teach entrepreneurship and social justice – and to get kids thinking outside of themselves. It can be very powerful,” says Kat.
Want to learn more about Global Problem Solvers: The Series? Visit www.gpstheseries.com to learn more.