Monday, 30 January 2012

Thinking Outside the Box...Again

Okay, can you tell we are super excited about all the big thinking our students are doing during these challenges.  I thought I would share some of the things we have been doing on my days for Thinking Outside the Box.

Feather Challenge

I posed the challenge, who could get the feather to travel the furthest?  I told them they could use anything we had in the classroom/school.  I asked them to first create a labelled diagram of their plan and include a list of the supplies they would need. The students were highly motivated to write. There is nothing better than looking across a grade 1 classroom and seeing everyone totally engaged in their writing.  Once their labelled diagrams were done, the children started building.  I just loved going around the room and hearing all their ideas.  I especially loved hearing them chat, question and assist each other.  For example, one student had built a plane and was putting the feather inside.  His friend was watching and said, "Don't you think the feather will fall out when you try to fly it.  I think you should tape the feather inside."

Here are some of the solutions:

This student had taped a magnet to his feather and then threw it to the metal cookie sheet.  It was exciting
 to see him use what he was learning about in Science (magnets) to assist with this challenge.
Science to Science Connection!!!!

This was our second place winner!

It was exciting to see this student's thinking during the project.  Initially he had taped a bunch of popsicle
sticks to his plane.  After testing it a few times, he asked for a new piece of paper.  When I asked him why
he said, "I have to start over, I made my plane too heavy.  The sticks were weighing down the plane.
  If I want the plane to go far I need to make it lighter. " 

This was the big winner.  He had taped his feather to a ball and threw it across the room.

Instrument Challenge

Our school had a visiting Vietnamese music performance come to entertain us.  As part of the show, one of the musician's shared a few instruments he had created himself.  I thought it would be cool for the students to try to create their own instruments.  We began by looking through some books of instruments and having a discussion about how instruments make sounds.  I then raided the supply cupboard for anything I could find that could make a sound.  The children were given an opportunity to experiment and explore the supplies  Once again, I asked them to create a labelled diagram and supply list.  Not only did this give them a meaningful writing task, but also gave me a chance to see what other supplies I needed to gather for the students to create their projects.

The criteria for this challenge was:
-it must make at least 3 sounds
-it could not be an instrument that already existed

Here are some of the solutions:

This one was pretty amazing.  He wanted to make it like his piano at home with notes
that would press down.  Under each chopstick he put a different material so that each
 would make a different sound.  Pretty big thinking for a seven year old!

This one used the chopstick in different ways.  First he plucked it like a guitar then
he bowed the elastics like a violin.  It was great to see him problem solve different ways
 to get the popsicle sticks to hold the elastics.  It took many different tries before he found this one.

This instrument had two sides.  This side had different length and width elastics.
 It was neat to see them discover the different sounds they could make.
I just loved the variety of this one.  In fact, it was more like a one girl band than a single
 instrument.  I'm not sure what those blue things on top are actually used for but they did
make a cool sound when she blew on them.

I just loved this labelled diagram, complete with text boxes and wonders.

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