Kindergarten Teacher

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The Next Frank Lloyd Wright?

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I gave my class a fairly simple project this week. The job was to try to build the tallest structure they could using popsicle sticks and hot glue. Yes, we use hot glue a lot (see here.) Each group (2-3 kids) could only make one structure so they had to work together.

I know these types of activities foster creativity and I know they enhance learning but I don’t often get clear proof of these facts. If you look at the picture above the structures are in placed in the order they were built, meaning the structure on the left was the first group and the one on the right was the last group. It is not a coincidence that each group (spread over 3 days) was able to build their structure larger than the group before.  As with any fun activity in the room all the kids were paying attention to this center as they worked in other centers. The heard the excitement when the second group figured out how to get a stick to stand vertical. They walked by and talked about how the structure need support sticks (in kindergarten language) to keep it from falling over. They were thinking of their own ideas as they waited for their turn. Beyond that they had a challenge to try to do more than the group before them. Am I training the next Frank Lloyd Wright? Probably not, but we won’t know unless we give them opportunities to find their passions.

Do you have similar activities for your room? I would appreciate you sharing if so, I know I want to include more of these type of activities in my class!

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One Response to The Next Frank Lloyd Wright?

  1. Kimberley says:

    Hi Matt:

    I love this. I totally agree that it is no coincidence that the final group made the best or tallest structure. The repetitive behavior and tweaking is what invention is all about. I’ve learned to do challenges each Friday. I break the kids into small groups 3-5 per group. I tell them the directions and show them the materials. They cannot touch the materials. They must just listen to the directions and ask clarifying questions. They they have 2 minutes to talk to their group about who will do what or what strategy they might have. They still cannot touch the materials. Then they have 1 minute to touch the materials. Then they have 4-6 minutes to complete the challenge. They grow so much with each challenge. At first they were bewildered by how they could possibly do something without me telling them what to do, but now they know I am NOT going to tell them what to do. I tell them I don’t know, that I’ve never done the challenge.

    Some ideas:
    Build a leprechaun trap out of legos
    Act out a scene from a story we’ve read without any props
    Build something that has moving parts and teach us how it is to be used in everyday life (we used tinker toys for this)
    Build a tower with six plastic tumbler cups, two rubber bands and ten pieces of paper. All items must be used. More points are given for tallest structure.

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