Pass a Problem


Teaching Strategies for a Learner-Centered Classroom

Strategy:                Pass a Problem

Time:                    20-60 minutes (depending on the number of groups allowed to review each problem)

Intent:  Identify and solve a problem related to course content.


  • Divide students into small groups.
  • Have each group spend up to 10 minutes identifying a problem (or you can give them a problem to solve).
  • Have each group of students brainstorm and write down their solutions to the problem. Allow up to 10 minutes for this.
  • Have the groups pass their problems /solutions to another group for review and then the second group can add to the original solutions.
  • Continue until all groups have had a chance to see/solve each problem.
  • Have the group that generated the problem initially review all solutions and either pick the best one or create a new one that synthesizes two or more of the solutions.


  • As an example of problem-based learning, this is a great way for students to approach specific issues or problems in the discipline in which they are studying.
  • All members of the class are engaged in the task and are encouraged to work cooperatively with several different members of the class.


  • You can also do this activity by posting flip chart papers on the walls around the room (one per problem) and have the groups rotate through each problem.
  • This activity can also be used in mathematics or similar courses, in which groups of students work together to solve mathematical equations. Each group then evaluates the other groups’ answers and the process they followed to solve the equation.

Additional Information:

  • Link to a great variation of this strategy found near the bottom of this page:

The Baker College System