Thursday, November 19, 2015

STEM Inspires Creativity

There's more than one road to success. Right now we're being directed to take an expressway, but 25 miles down is a construction detour because it hasn't been completed. More and more of us are abandoning the expressway altogether for the scenic backroads. There's a whole lot of them and we'll both enjoy the journey and reach the destination. All the educators I know love to plan projects that incorporate both the standards and a little fun! Some are able to do it more often than others. I believe that our technological boom has caused a shift in what we value in education, and I have high hopes for the future. One example is the rise of STEM or STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, math) in schools.

Have you heard of Caine's Arcade? Caine is a little boy BIG on creativity! He built an arcade out of cardboard and sparked a cardboard revolution. My school has a STEAM  committee and they present monthly challenges to our students; some are carried out during the school day while others are meant to be tackled by the entire family. The October in-school cardboard challenge was inspired by the movie below:

My 2nd graders were so excited about this activity. We watched the movie together and then I allowed them time to brainstorm what they could do with a box by drawing and labeling diagrams.  Next I asked them to form 3-person groups. They would work together as a team and construct a game or toy. I've never seen 7 and 8 year olds both communicate and collaborate so well! When they were finished we took our creations to the main hall of our school where the other classes were placing their projects. Our school designated one afternoon for students to just play with one another's games. Take a look at photos from the week of the  Cardboard Challenge!

I took advantage of the enthusiasm and after talking about how to properly write a friendly letter (2nd grade standard) I asked each kiddo to write a letter to Caine. Next I tasked the kids with recording one another reading their letters. We compiled all the letters into a mini-movie and sent it to Caine's "fan club".

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