You may remember from an earlier post that the 3rd graders have an incentive to "fill each other's buckets." This means that whenever I catch them doing or saying something that gives another person good thoughts and feelings about him/herself, I put a tile in a jar. When all 20 tiles are in the jar, the class gets to celebrate. Before we begin this process, the class brainstorms what kind of celebration they want to work toward. After brainstorming, we take a blind vote. The most popular party wins!
This time around, the students voted to have a "board games and Spencer" party. This is exactly what it sounds like. After earning 20 tiles for their good citizenship, we got to have this truly original celebration! It was so interesting to see the different types of games the students brought in. Their personalities truly shone. Befitting to the cause, the party was full of laughter, kindness, sharing, and enthusiasm. Enjoy some pictures below!
With the school year winding down, the time for fun, end-of-the-year projects has begun! This week, we began our prism project, which you'll see allows for application of the measurement, geometry, and problem solving skills that we've learned this year.
During our 3D objects unit, we learned about two types of prisms: cubes and rectangular prisms. This week, we learned that any polygon can be turned into a prism.
The task I gave the class was to create a prism of their choice using materials in the makerspace. To do this, we followed the design-thinking procedure. First, they drew a sketch of their prism, which included the measurements of each edge. Next, they came up with a plan of construction. Then, they created a prototype out of regular paper. The prototype phase has been the most difficult, as this is where flaws in the design may show up. The students learned very quickly the importance of measuring precisely, as imprecise measurement creates faces that won't align in the 3D object. Some of them decided that creating a foldable net was easier than cutting each face separately and taping them together. Working through these discoveries is one of the most valuable aspects of a project like this. The students are developing grit, perseverance, and an understanding of failure as an opportunity to redesign.
If students realize in the prototype phase that their design needs to be adjusted, they must then go back to the sketching phase, adjust their design, then create a new prototype according to what they've learned. Once the prototype turns out how they want it, they can then move into the final phase -- construction out of cardboard or card stock.
Nobody's process in the makerspace has been liner -- plan, draft, final product. They have all progressed in more of a looping manner (plan, draft, redesign, draft, adjust, final product), as they engineer their prototypes and refine their approaches. Through this process, their sense of what it means to be successful is shifting. Success does not mean instant perfection. It is a process of failing and learning and working hard.
We are loving this project.
Last week during our April market, we had our 1st ever case of businesses competing. Two entrepreneurs were in direct competition selling homemade slime. When the two came to me wondering if it was OK to sell the same product, I was delighted at the opportunity for a teachable moment! "Does this happen in real life?" I asked. "Yes," they replied. "And what do businesses do when another business is selling the same product?" Immediately they realized, "They try to make theirs better!" We then brainstormed ways in which the two slime businesses could differentiate themselves -- fun colors, clever packaging, advertisement, etc.
When market day arrived, the two students were both quite nervous. "What if nobody comes to my business?" Amazingly, the two had very different takes on the slime idea. One business had smaller packaging, glittery slime, and a more rubbery recipe. They also came up with funny names for each color. The other business gave much more slime for the price, a fluffier recipe, and pastel colors. The two products were different in so many ways that the consumers wanted both! In the end, they both sold out and decided to merge their businesses for a joint venture for the upcoming Super Market.
As a class, we discussed how competition really benefits the consumer. Because the businesses had competition, they were forced to try to sell the best product possible. This gave us, the consumers, two great choices at the market.
Enjoy some pictures and videos from our classroom cleanup session and April market below!
Little people, big minds.