Friday, October 16, 2015

Establishing a Design Mindset

In Science we are studying Rocks and Minerals. We have been having a lot of fun learning about a topic that all of us thought was going to be a bit dry. With the help of Google Drawings and Tinkercad we have been having a lot of fun!

We have been using Tinkercad often in order to learn how to effectively use the software. It's safe to say that the students have been thinking about how to integrate it into our learning as much as I have. Well, they came up with a great idea when we were talking about the properties of minerals. The students and I thought it would be a lot of fun to "create" our own minerals. Using the anchor chart on how to identify minerals, the students put their learning into practice by applying what they learned to create their own minerals.

As they considered properties such as lustre and hardness, they started imagining what their mineral would look like. They started using Tinkercad to create a 3D design of their mineral. They worked hard and put the software to good use but it wasn't enough to satisfy them. They seemed to want to do more than just design a rock/mineral.

This is where I suggested we take a step back - leave the 3D software for a bit - and use Google Drawings to create  a design and be able to add text and share their work with me and their classmates. The students welcomed this opportunity and their effort and interest stayed the same.

Here are some examples of what they created:

As the students worked on their task I observed them collaborate, create, and share their ideas, issues, and successes. With many of the invented minerals complete, the students are talking about their designs and how they can apply what they did in Drawings to the 3D software. 

They are establishing a design mindset as they work on taking their ideas and bringing them to life. Having experienced the amazing things students can do when given time to experiment and follow their interests I am making more of an effort to step back and enjoy the ride more rather than focus on our destination.

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