(Shelbyville, Ky. USA)
This week, my classroom development group (DevGru) started working on their stove designs. It was good to see what my eager students come up with in terms of materials and designs.
I like using Devgru to develop ideas because I have never done this, and I like working the kinks out before we have our big lesson. One of the things I think I will stress MORE in the classroom is the importance of finding a good design, spending the time to prototype it, and then beginning construction.
Many of my Devgru students are gifted, and because of this, they like to get hands-on as soon as possible. As far as this DevGru trial lesson goes, I have been pretty hands-off. I gave them a minimal framework with resources and I'm letting them build from there. This seems to be the best way to naturally make it student-friendly.
One of the disadvantages to being eager and hands-on is that many of them jumped in before they really knew what they were doing. This means that many of them are spending time on self-created designs that will not be successful.
This is easily turned into a learning moment...and if I had more time, might be a great way to start the unit (one of the unit goals is the modification of a model after data has been collected)but we lost a week from snowdays that were "forgiven" so we do not have to make them up.
So I have modified my plans to reflect a need for the students to really have a clear idea of what they want to build before they ever get access to materials. The first oven should be a strong foundation from which to build improvements.
This week, DevGru will be spending two days after school completing their designs. The idea is that next week we will find a day or two where we can cook something :)
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