Skip to main content

Collaborate to solve a school problem | Become the School Librarian Team | 3-5, 6-8, 9-12

Student Objective

Student will be able to:
1. Identify and articulate a problem by collecting and synthesizing data in the form of qualitative interviews of peers


Materials Needed:

Step 1: “What makes you want to check a book out?”

  • Think-Pair-Share:
    • “What makes you want to check a book out?
    • Why or why don’t you check one out?
    • What stops you from checking out a book?”

Step 2: Introduce Question that Students Will Collaborate to Answer

  • Introduce the scenario for students:
    • “You are a member of the School Librarian Team.
    • They ask themselves, ‘How can we get students to check out more books and read more?”
    • They realize they don’t know why students do or do not check out books to read
      • Is it because students don’t know they can check out books?
      • Is it because students don’t know how to check out books?
      • Is it because students don’t know how to find a good book?
    • Your job:
      • Find out how students decide to check out a book–and why they do or don’t?  What’s their problem?
  • introduce the process of understanding a problem:
    • Step 1: Collect Data by Interviewing Peers using Interview Template to Collect Data
    • Step 2: Synthesize Findings
    • Step 3: Find Themes and Reasons
    • Step 4: Write out a Problem Statement

Step 3: Have Students Develop Interview Questions to Interview Peers

  • Introduce the Interview Template from the Design Thinking Toolkit
    • Have students review the basic template
    • Have them generate additional questions or edit existing questions in the template
    • Have students list out the different friends they want to interview during recess, during lunch, or after school

Step 4: Have Students Collect Data by Interviewing Peers using Interview Template to Collect Data

  • Provide students the time to interview other students (can be in class, or team up with another classroom across different grades and subjects)
  • Ensure students know that they should:
    • Interview students 2 on 1, where for each interview:
    • 1 student interviews the interviewee
    • 1 student takes notes on the interview

Step 5: Have Students Synthesize Findings using a Digital Board

  • Go over the steps students take for synthesizing information (model and provide practice)
    • Using Miro Board, from each interview (model and provide practice):
      • Type key sentences and phrases from interviews onto digital sticky notes

Step 6: Have Students Find Themes and Reasons

  • Have Students:
    • Clump together related sticky notes or phrases into thematic groups
    • Create names for those groups (can be a name or phrase)
  • SCAFFOLDING Suggestion for this section:
    • Have students create categories:
      • Reasons why I don’t check out a book
      • Reasons why I do check out a book
      • Feelings associated with the school library

Step 7: Have Students Write a Problem Statement

  • Using the data from Step 6, have students use the Problem Statement Scaffold Document to articulate the problem statement
  • Once students have articulated a clear initial problem statement draft:
    • Have students come up with more questions they’d like to ask students again to ensure their problem is true

Step 8: Have Students Interview Again!



This instructional idea requires students to create a problem statement focused on increasing the amount of books their peers checkout from a classroom or school library, and that statement must include ideas for collecting and analyzing data. In a follow-up learning activity, students can implement their ideas, which will address standard 5b.

EdTech used in this activity:


Alternative Ed Tech you could use:

Stormboard, Jamboard, Dotstorming