Thursday, December 5, 2013

Let There Be Light

I waited patiently at the door for my fourth grade science class.

When they walked in, I handed them a sheet of paper. It read, "One free plane ticket to any place in the world."

They all wrote a different destination. Some wrote Mexico, some Las Vegas, Hawaii was popular, and one child even picked Michigan.

We loaded 'the plane' and zoomed toward our respective vacation spots. Suddenly, this clip played on the projector and everything went wrong. The plane crashed and the students scrambled to find supplies.

Each pod of students found a 'first aid' kit in one desk. The bag contained some copper wire, an LED light, and a battery. 

The challenge? Turn the LED bulb on.

The students complained they didn't know how. I told them to play and experiment. I walked around making sure everybody was safe and listened to complaints.

"Tell us how!"

"I don't get it."

"This is too hard."

Suddenly, Robert screamed with excitement, "I did it, I did it!" Robert figured out how to make a simple circuit. His light shined bright.

The kids rushed around him. "Show us how!" Show us how!" 

Robert couldn't answer questions fast enough. 

I failed to mention that many teachers complain about Robert. He doesn't do his work, he always gets detention. Sure, he may be a tough shell to crack, but he was always one of my favorite students. Now, he was a class leader. His smile was brighter than the bulb.

Within minutes, other kids found alternative ways to light the bulb. Some grabbed tape to reduce the feeling of heat. Some figured out how to make a 'switch' to turn it off and on. Some grabbed a box to improve the 'switch'. They wanted to play with their circuits all day. 

Best yet, they refused to let me throw away their creations. 

"I want to bring it home to show my dad."

"I am coming back at recess."

"This is the best."

What a great day for them and me. Did I mention they were in fourth grade?

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