‘Understanding always entails personal invention; it cannot simply be transmitted from a generator to a recipient.’

-Martha Stone Wiske-

Chairs 1

It is late January, and three students are still proudly sitting on cardboard chairs created in September in the Maker Space at our school.  Students were challenged to  solve the problem of a purported lack of chairs in the school by creating a one made solely of cardboard, tape, and glue that would support their own weight.

The steps in the design cycle were utilized to imagine, then make, and improve first a prototype and then several iterations of their design.  These grade 7 students at Nanoose Bay Elementary School have embraced a ‘learn by doing’ stance, utilizing the design cycle and a variety of tools and materials to solve small and large problems.

After participating in a spaghetti bridge building competition at the LNG in B.C. conference, students made the following comments:

“Through our experience competing we learned to demonstrate teamwork and flexibility as well as different strategies on how to improve our constructing skills.”

“The whole thing was amazing, yet my all-time favorite part was losing. Learning from my loss.”

During these challenges, students are developing their curiosity, their independence, and their self-advocacy.  With a tough enough problem, choice as to how the problem is solved, and some supported struggle, students are identifying that it is through mistakes and self-discovery that we learn.

Karen Mostad – Teacher – Nanoose Bay Elementary