Whether we teach in a STEM lab, media center, or regular classroom, we all need to find effective ways to support students when failure occurs. How To Solve a Problem by Ashima Shiraishi is a wonderful picture book to use for this purpose!
Featured Picture Book:
How To Solve a Problem (2020)
By Ashima Shiraishi
Illustrated by Yao Xiao
How To Solve a Problem is the true story of Ashima Shiraishi, a world class climber who started at the age of six. Told in the first person point of view, Ashima refers to the mountain she has to climb as “a problem”. Throughout the story, illustrated with large bright colors, she shares her struggles, failures, challenges, and finally successes! She specifically shares how she learns from her mistakes to persevere and triumph.
Related Themes and Standards:
Metaphors and Similes
A great book to use when teaching the Engineering Design Process!
1. If you are tying this book into a Geology unit, have students build a model of Ashima’s mountain using clay, Play-Doh, or other materials. See if they can incorporate all the features she mentions in the story. You could then move on to a rock and mineral study.
2. In the story, Ashima maps out her path up the mountain. This would be a great book to incorporate into a lesson on maps, elevation, and contour lines. Have students create their own map with these elements.
3. Ashima is a free climber, but you could use this story to have students engineer a simple machine to help a beginning climber scale a mountain. Use little action figures and recyclable/dollar store items to test out their designs.
4. The last few pages of the book include many of the mountains Ashima has climbed (and at what age). To integrate math, have students research the heights of the different climbs and create a chart or graph.
How else could you use this amazing picture book? Share in the comments!
STEM Advocate and Picture Book Author