Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Let's learn about elements by opening computers.

Blog resurrection time!  A lot of my work since the last post has been documented here.  Now it is time to get back to blogging.

Kids need time to play, to discover, and to solve real problems.  The story of stuff project allows for all of this and more.  They started yesterday by opening up old laptops that our district was about to get rid of.  Today they will pick one part of the computer and find out what elements make it function by doing some research.  (This includes getting better at searching the internet, because real problems don't come with a textbook.)  From there students will document the story of the element from where it can be found on earth, processing, use, and finally waste.  Student final products could be a public service announcement, children's book, board game, repurposed part, art out of computer parts, or anything else they can think of to communicate their understanding of the learning targets.  We are looking to do a field trip with our project partner  RNA Worldwide and culminate with an e-recycle day for our community to properly recycle their electronic waste.  At the event students will get to show off their final products in a student galley set up during the e-waste recycle day so that the public is made more aware of the e-waste problem and how they are part of the solution by recycling.

One of the best parts for me is that the e-waste problem was brought to light by four students last year and one of the projects they were doing to reduce waste in their community.  The more they showed me about the problem the more I felt like others needed to know and that the e-recycle event they organized last year had to happen every year.  Here we are tinkering, making, problem solving, learning.

"I've always wanted to do this, but never been allowed to."

"What is that?"

"Look it's my Dell tablet!"