Armed with knowledge about the chosen issue and about how public policy works from Steps One through Six, students brainstorm a public policy solution for the issue the class has been studying. Students use a “Thinking CAPS” method of organized brainstorming.
The students will:
TEACHER SET UP Write each letter in the CAPS acronym on the board with space for student ideas beneath it, or post large pieces of paper around the room.
TELL the class that today they will brainstorm a solution for the public policy problem you have been studying. Explain that they will use the “Thinking CAPS” method to brainstorm ideas. Each letter in the word CAPS stands for a word that will help them think about the problem in a different way.
DIVIDE the class into groups of 4 students each. You will have several groups for each letter in the CAPS acronym.
DISTRIBUTE one CAPS letter sheet and one set of student roles to each group.
EXPLAIN that they will have 15 minutes to brainstorm as many ideas as possible. Review the guide questions on each letter sheet and make sure the groups understand what to focus on when they brainstorm. Review the student roles and make sure each student has a role. (Recorders will need their own sheet of paper.)
TIME groups for 15 minutes while they brainstorm ideas. Circulate to monitor their progress and answer questions.
ASK student recorders to write the group’s ideas on the board or on the paper you have posted for student answers, beneath the letter their group was assigned.
REVIEW the results. As you do, have the class look for 1) ideas that can be combined and 2) ways to build on ideas. Encourage them to ask, “Wouldn’t it be cool if…?”
TRANSFER ideas that get the most enthusiasm to a new location. (This is not scientific. We assume you have a good sense of when your class is excited about something.)
PROJECT the Rank the Ideas transparency and discuss the four criteria it lists.
REVIEW each idea on the “most enthusiasm” list. Help the class assign each idea a score of 0 to 5 points for each of the four criteria. Mark these down and total the score for each idea.
CHOOSE the idea with the highest score, OR vote between the top 2 or 3.