Thursday, September 19, 2013

How Many Ways Can you Use a Straw?

Excuse me if this post is a little late, but I had a busy summer

The end of the school year is always an interesting time. Teachers have to deal with goofy schedules, extra assemblies, high temperatures, and myriad other factors. With this reality in mind, it can be hard to start or finish projects/lessons and there tend to be a lot of "free days". It was during one of these days I had a tremendous amount of fun with my fourth grade science class. I was also schooled in divergent thinking and witnessed unbelievable creativity first-hand. 

I planned to harness my inner Arvind Gupta by having the students make musical instruments from straws. I had the video cued up and ready to rock when my Ipad ran out of battery. I pulled an audible and grabbed my computer. Crap! I forgot the adapter. A tad flustered, I changed the play once more. I gave each pod of students six or seven straws and told them to create something this simple and good. 

Here are a few of their creations. It shows just how creative students can be.... and how little we give them a chance to show it.

Caterpillar Bridge
Steve was our class caterpillar. A group of students hypothesized Steve would cross a gap of desks if he had a bridge. The straws just so happened to be a perfect bridge. The students came up with a science experiment with little impetus from the teacher. Heck, I don't think I am creative enough to construct an experiment like that. 

A sword
Why not cut one straw to create a handle for another? The end result being a straw. Amazing what happens when kids are looking for objects to play with.

Geometric Shapes
Pretty gnarly triangle, right? Why don't we have kids play with their imaginations like this in math class?

I am still trying to figure out how the students bent the straws like this.

Perhaps inspired by Zelda?

Scissor Guard
Probably my favorite. A simple straw is a perfect guard for small scissors. Know a kindergarten teacher looking to keep the class safe? Pretty easy solution.

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