Solving problems is very important in the modern knowledge-based society. Every individual is expected to create new things in every period of their life, which is only possible by solving problems, providing previously unknown and new solutions. Problem-based learning is thus becoming a necessity for modern schools. Pupils must be taught to recognize, identify, analyse and solve problems.
In the theoretical part of this master’s thesis, we first describe models of solving problems, which are all different and comprise of different stages. Certain problems only have one solution. However, there are a lot of problems that are divergent in nature, which means that they have several different solutions. It is of the utmost importance to consider learning individualisation and differentiation, because pupils have different dispositions when it comes to solving problems, such as organized and systematic prior knowledge, experience in solving problems, mental and emotional activity, and critical, analytical and creative thinking.
In a school environment, problem-based learning is most often part of mathematics, natural science and language classes. This is why we decided to focus on problem-solving aspect of social sciences class in the fourth grade of elementary school for the empirical part of this thesis. The basis for our research were direct experiences of pupils, so the problem-based learning took place during the lesson on local regions. We used descriptive and causal non-experimental method and qualitative research approach. We also carried out an action research. At first, we performed interviews with teachers and pupils. Teachers told us how they define problem-based learning, how important they think it is, how and in which classes they use it, what they think are the advantages and limits of this approach, and how they prepare and carry out individualisation plans. Pupils told us which problems they observed in local regions, what kind of lessons they like, how inquisitive they are, and what they wish to learn about local regions. By analysing interviews, we received data which we used to plan, perform and analyse a lesson with a problem-solving approach on local regions in the fourth grade of elementary school.
With the results of this research, we wish to underline the necessity of problem-based learning and describe factors that affect planning and performance of problem-based lessons on local regions. Pupils helped us recognize different strategies of problem-solving and point out factors that teachers should take into account so that every pupil is active and successful during a problem-based lesson. Our findings, guidelines and lesson plan can be used by teachers in their everyday practice.