In our last month of classes at Forestville we are working on a long-term project: our superhero videos. To get students started, last week students made superhero costumes or superhero characters out of recycling and things from nature. We talked about uses and reuses for natural resources and students had time to test out various designs to see which worked for them. Open-ended design challenges like this are a favorite of our students and it helps them to think outside of the box about their abilities and the uses of materials. Their only limitation was that they had to use recycled materials as the basis for their costume (and we had quite a collection!).
Last week some students also took a first stab at making a short movie based on their characters. The movie limitations were simple: it had to clearly say how the superhero’s power would help the world, and they had to use some of the science we have learned throughout the session in the video.
The students had such fun with this, and were eager to continue working on their characters and stories this week. One student came in and said, “I’m so excited to keep working on my character!” That made my day!
This week they made progress on their movies, with some working on stop action videos, computer-based animation on the iPad, and live action videos. As with any long-term project, they are putting effort into planning and and design, and reflection and modification. They rehearsed over and over again! Along the way they modified their costumes and story lines. Remembering to say clearly what their “scientific” superpower is was a bit of a challenge.
For a bit of fun we also continued testing a new lesson that iSchool is developing: Water balloon ziplines. We started this as an engineering challenge some months ago. So far we the balloons have bounced, and we’ve learned that our combination of angles and distance are not enough to burst a water balloon. With the student’s help, we’ll figure it out!
Last week, in honor of Mother’s Day and as part of our 21st Century Life Skills curriculum, we asked students to show appreciation to their mothers by thinking deeply in a note to their mothers. Rather than allow superficial things like “thanks for being my mom” and “I like your cooking,” our questions required self-reflection. “How has your mother helped you be a good person?” and, in keeping with our superhero theme, “What makes YOU a hero?” were the types of deep, thought-provoking questions we asked. It was a challenge for the students! But it prompted some reflection on the role that others play in our lives and is a key step towards building empathy.
Want these experiences for your child? Register for our Summer Camps, which are coming up soon!