4 Color Map Problem Research Conclusion

It was extremely valuable and interesting for me to take a lesson I have been doing for twenty years and examine it in-depth and against the background of extant research and theory.  For example, the research provided insights into how the lesson’s motivating questions need to differ for different age groups.  It also allowed me to see where my preferred teaching methodology fits in existing classifications of theoretical approaches.  The drawings showed common patterns and solutions across students and cohort groups.  An analysis of the progression of five color map drawings showed a creative blending of new and old ideas in different combinations to try and come up with a five color map.  The primary difference between groups was the speed of working through the problem though some experienced or gifted learners were able to start to articulate a conceptual model of the problem.  Despite some initial frustration grappling with a difficult and open problem, motivation was high. The author has noticed the same phenomenon in elementary and middle school open-ended engineering challenges based on robotics. The study suggests that frustration and challenge are necessary to induce high interest and motivation even on unfamiliar topics.   Further research might untangle the relationship between difficult problems, frustration, challenge, and motivation in the adaption of difficult computer science problems for K-12 students.

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