Friday, March 1, 2013

Creatively Building a Dam

I came up with this creative learning activity for 5th grade science. Thanks to the MIT MOOC on creative learning my whole notion of the concept has been revolutionized. It is my job to give students an arena to construct, tinker, play, and try new things. I have failed at this in my career. I am excited about the future and this was one step.

The project was simple in a way, but allowed for students to build something totally unique. I gave them a container with soil and asked them to construct a dam out of tape, Popsicle sticks, and rocks. They had to make the dam functional in the sense they could control water flow if necessary. With those basic guidelines, I let them be. It was amazing to see what students came up with and the paths used to get there. I loved the divergent thinking, which was a produce of my lack of structure and rules. 

The kids loved it; some added variables like more dirt, others tested relentlessly, and some groups sketched more than build. I couldn't kick them out of class and some begged to come to my room during breaks. They  wanted to keep building and hence, keep learning. It is a totally different way of doing school and I love it. 

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