Every teacher here has noticed, at one time or another, that our students seem good at some things and not quite so good at others. If we ask them to think of ideas or opinions on fairly familiar topics, they usually, but not always, react poorly and either come up with very few ideas, or take inordinate amounts of time to arrive at any.
A group of researchers conducted a meta-analysis of the skills professionals need in the workforce today. As you examine the 4 "buckets" of skills it is evident that more rigid and linear tasks fall short of preparing our students. As you build your next task, look at the demands your students will face in the workplace. How might you modify the task to prepare them for the modern workforce?
I think this short article can spark some powerful ideas. Having multiple solutions and entry points for students does not have to require complex thinking. I know as a teacher, I often thought of large projects when creating problem solving and multiple solutions for students. Perhaps start small like the problem in this article. A warm-up for a science class before a climate/drought unit might be "My water hose broke, I have no money, and I need to water my garden. What could I do?"
Be sure to click on all three tabs (overview, how it's done, resources) to get all the great elements of this PBA and see a powerful example of how students have multiple entry points to a real-world problem. It is a math assessment, but the ideas, flow, and structure could be replicated in other contents.
This is great step-by-step guide (with links to good resources!) on how to make your units a fluid, rather than linear, journey towards a learning target. Same destination...different ways to get my students there!