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Abstract

While problem solving is a relatively well understood process, problem framing is less well understood, particularly with regard to supporting students to learn as they frame problems. Project-based learning classrooms are an ideal setting to investigate how teachers facilitate this process. Using participant observation, this study investigated how teachers supported students in taking ownership over the framing of problems in a charter school that serves students who have been underserved by traditional schooling. Data include audio/video records, field notes, interviews, and student work from a nineweek project. Interaction analysis was used to examine ownership and learning over time. Analysis suggests that providing a relevant yet revisable design problem, giving instruction about design process as iterative, and problematizing a model of design process supported students in taking ownership over the framing of the problem; students were motivated to pose questions and gathered information purposefully, thereby learning in the process.

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