Save Fred: Collaborative Problem-solving

Illustration Elements

Illustration Éléments

Illustration Sub-competencies


Students worked in groups on a problem-solving challenge called “Save Fred”. Fred’s boat has capsized, and he needs the students’ help to get his life preserver on, which is under the boat. The surface of their desks is the ocean, and the goal is to not let Fred fall into the ocean. The students are given paper clips, but these are the only tools they can use to help Fred. 


Activity Photo

Teacher Reflection

This was a great team building and problem-solving activity as the students collaboratively discussed and planned their rescue.

The students tended to discuss ideas first and then come up with a plan. They decided what role each team member plays and communicated a lot during the rescue mission.  At times, some students needed reminders not to “take over” the rescue and that the mission is a team effort. After the mission, the students reviewed their plan to see what ideas worked and what they would change in their plan.



I contribute during group activities with peers and share roles and responsibilities to achieve goals.

I take on different roles and tasks in the group and work respectfully and safely in our shared space. I express my ideas and help others feel comfortable to share theirs so that all voices are included. I work with others to achieve a common goal and can evaluate our group processes and results.



I can ask questions and consider options. I can use my observations, experience, and imagination to draw conclusions and make judgments.

I can ask open-ended questions, explore, and gather information. I experiment purposefully to develop options. I can contribute to and use criteria. I use observation, experience, and imagination to draw conclusions, make judgments, and ask new questions. I can describe my thinking and how it is changing.  I can establish goals individually and with others. I can connect my learning with my experiences, efforts, and goals. I give and receive constructive feedback.