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.
Little people, big minds.