Extraordinary Challenge Guide




Teacher’s Guide to Creating an Extraordinary Challenge


Please use the following is a step-by-step guide to create your own Extraordinary Challenge based on upcoming curriculum, available time, and/or your students’ learning needs. Learners will investigate and learn from extraordinary individuals of historical importance who have embraced growth/fixed mindsets as evidenced in their work from multiple perspectives: art, design, the humanities, and STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics).

Note: The challenge guide is also posted below as a word document.

The purpose of this challenge is to offer learners the opportunity to develop the capacity to:
  1. Empathize with another person’s disposition toward dilemma, challenge, adversity, and choices

  2. Assess another’s capacity to effectively manage their growth/fixed mindsets in the face of adversity

  3. Apply creative and innovative decision making practices while collaborating with peers

  4. Become aware of their own use of growth/fixed mindsets as well as when and how to apply them
Students will use a growth/fixed mindset lens to investigate an extraordinary person’s disposition towards a challenge, dilemma, or adversity, to then examine on a personal level how they respond when faced with barriers, along with decisions they make in difficult situations – with an eye toward what type of mindset they embrace.

During Symposium 2014 working sessions, participants will examine Steps 1-3 of students’ mid-course work and current perceptions. Using initial formative assessment data, we will study critical areas of student struggle and fundamental learning elements such as levels of engagement, along with readiness to apply empathy, growth mindset dispositions, decision making patterns, creative problem solving process.

Students will learn to understand and empathize (relate) with their selected person’s disposition (character) toward dilemmas (situations), challenges (problems), adversity (barriers), and the choices he/she has made.

Learners will be challenged to process and make sense of their selected person’s capacity to effectively manage their growth/fixed mindset dispositions when faced with challenges and/or adversity.

Students will become aware of their team’s decision-making practices and growth/fixed mindset dispositions toward designing creative (original) and innovative (new and purposeful) solutions that are beyond the norm (compared to initial or common thinking), and make sustainable contributions.

Learners will assess and reflect on their own overall (typical) use of growth mindset dispositions.


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Doris Wells-Papanek,
Aug 26, 2014, 8:35 PM