Last month, I partnered with the Art I teacher to work on a unit that mixed literacy and kinetic sculptures. We took the unit she had already created and breathed new life into it by challenging students to be inspired by picture books and also add in aspects of Rube Goldberg design. You can read more about the project here.
So, the students finished their sculptures and have uploaded all of their work to SeeSaw. We used this platform to showcase all of their efforts during the Engineering Design Process because 1) it’s super easy to use from both a browser or mobile device and 2) it allows the entire class to see, comment and discuss each others’ work. It also helped Ms. Rubino (partnering Art I teacher) and I to assess student groups along the way, ensuring that they had better products in the end.
Click here to see photos and videos from the project!
Our project has now ended, but the learning has not stopped. Ms. Rubino and I have started to reflect on the unit, taking note of what worked, what didn’t work and ways that we can improve this for next time. We had challenges along the way, including both of us being out on different days, which meant the students were on their own a lot.
Some of the things we’re thinking of improving on for next time include:
- Taking more time to introduce SeeSaw; making sure students understand our intentions for using it to share work and create dialogue about that work – We found that students had no problems uploading their work to the platform, but there was very little commenting about each other’s evidence.
- Being clearer about the requirements for the final product; having a rubric that students can use to assess their efforts – Our intentions were for all students to have a kinetic sculpture that had both kinetic properties and evidence of Rube Goldberg design. What we got instead, were sculptures that had one or the other. The idea of Rube Goldberg design was lost on many students, with most of them creating moving sculptures that might have one cause and effect relationship, not a series.
- Sharing beyond the classroom – Our initial idea was that we’d have students share their final products through videos which we’d feature in a bracket style competition for the school and community to view and vote on. We both believe strongly in creating products for authentic audiences, not just for the teacher. We wanted to create a March Madness type of competition, but we ran out of time as Ms. Rubino has another entire unit to cover before the end of the school year.
If you’d like to hear more about this project or get specific information that we used, please contact me!