I love to spark my student's imagination. They have imagined wind powered devices, traps to catch the crickets in our classroom, and bridges to transfer supplies from desk to desk. This project is the opportunity for imagination to become design, and for design to become reality.
My seven and eight year old 2nd graders are energetic, creative, and full of ideas.
We work in teams all day long so that the stronger readers can coach those who need reading support and the English Language Learners can benefit from the stronger vocabulary of others. I love watching those who are more focused and organized help teammates who need the directions explained a few extra times to reach understanding. We started out as 33 strangers in a room, and have grown to become teams of co-workers in our daytime home away from home. While many students have both parents working to support their families, I have other parents who sacrifice time from their busy schedules to help in the class with reading, writing, and math skills. Parents and students alike are thrilled about adding a more detailed engineering component to the classroom, anxious to see the "magic" happen!
During one of our "BUILDing Mathematicians" centers, students work in teams to design and solve engineering challenges. Using mostly recycled items, they have built suspension bridges from string and toilet paper rolls, and weight bearing platforms from foil, straws, and popsicle sticks. Creative, thoughtful, and structurally solid in their designs, one short weekly rotation allows only for simple basics. By this time in the year, I have seen their ideas grow and so have their innovative solutions. They are ready to take it to the next level! Enter the idea of creating our "Engineering is Elementary" design and construction center, and dedicating an entire 90 minute weekly segment for larger, more far reaching projects. One team wants to design and build a wind powered vehicle, another wants to build a stand for the class iPad so they can video and document their progress. Real Problems + Real Solutions = Real Excitement!
Our class starts each day with their own cheer before entering the classroom: "I can learn anything!
I can know anything! I can be anything!" While I encourage them to believe in themselves as I believe in them, they know that the learning process often includes a failure, or two, or three...and that's okay because...if "you can't make mistakes, you can't make anything"! Our future lies in the hands of our children, let's give them the tools to see what those hands can do!Read More
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