A Bug’s Life

A Bug’s Life

Last August, we did a raftLab immersive learning experience with 25 Ray E. Kilmer Elementary teachers on Cross-Curricular Engineering and how to use the design challenge process to address the problems identified in the novel Hatchet. 

We had a lot of fun working with these creative teachers, and they felt the same way! Here are some comments from the post-workshop survey: 

It was very enjoyable. I have participated in some STEM type workshops in the past, but most of our staff had not before today. I am so glad they got to engage in these types of activities. They are more motivated to incorporate them, and there is more “buy-in” for the types of things we want to do in the Innovation Station.

I loved the way Harley tied the literature to the problem and the project that we were able to build as our solution.

We will introduce the process to the students and hope that this will become internalized throughout the year.

We are kicking off our STEAM Lab (Innovation Station) as part of our specials rotation this year. I will be applying this within our lessons for the lab.

Then, the fun continued in the classroom as teachers planned Kilmer Elementary’s Innovation Day, the fifth day of their specials rotation. Classes come to the Innovation Station (STEAM lab) for STEM challenges or to the library for technology challenges. Kindergarten has 30 minutes for a challenge and grades 1-6 get 45 minutes. In that 45 minutes, they have the challenge explained, are put into teams/groups (usually groups of 3), plan their solution, and build/create. The last 10 minutes of a session is spent presenting their solution and cleaning up. 

Becky Moulden, a Technology Teacher at Kilmer, shared these photos of one of students’ design challenges: design a playground for a spider. The challenge was inspired by the children’s book Diary of a Spider, and almost all of the materials for the challenge came from RAFT. Ahh, to be those lucky spiders!