Thursday, December 4, 2014

Design Challenges in the Classroom

Hello Bloggie Friends!  It's Deniece from This Little Piggy Reads.  
Today we're going to talk about something you might be familiar with and you may not.  Have you heard about the Maker Movement?   Basically, it's a group of educators, researchers and even companies who are interested in allowing children to explore their creative side and incorporates the ability to be the maker, not the consumer.
My team has taken on this approach to teaching and learning our Gifted Students.  Our students visit our classrooms once a week.  We have a designated design time each week.  So far, we have completed some amazing challenges.  My favorite was our game challenge.  To begin, we watched a video called, Caine's Arcade.
Basically, Caine is a 9 year old who created his own game arcade entirely out of cardboard boxes!! HOW COOL?  My kiddos thought this was amazing.  So amazing that they actually went home and made arcade games - gotta love that!  Our challenge was to design a blueprint of an arcade game and then replicate it using only a box and/or paper products.  This was our 4th Design Challenge and my students really needed help designing a blueprint before jumping into the design challenge.  


We've completed other challenges...Build the tallest and widest bridge; Make Butter; Create a Floating Boat.  If you walk into my classroom during a design challenge, EVERY student is engaged, EVERY student is collaborating and EVERY student is problem solving.  

You might wonder how these can connect to your teaching standards?  They definitely can! Obviously, it's pretty easy to find a design project that aligns to science standards.  However, I have found that math is almost always utilized as well - especially measurement which is a standard that students across my district need help with.  I've also used these design challenges with novel studies and short stories.  When I read Charlotte's Web with my 3rd Graders they completed a design challenge to make a Ferris Wheel. Click here to read my post about their great designs!  

I know that many of us have a few weeks before the Holiday Break and many teachers find themselves doing a lot of the same things - spice things up with a Design Challenge.  

This Little Piggy Wants to Know...Have your students completed an awesome Design Challenge?  

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