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Gillispie School / Experts in Education  / Specialty Spotlight: Science & Design
Kids in science class

Specialty Spotlight: Science & Design

To kick off the school year, students designed projects to warm up their hands and brains while remembering the importance of caring for their classroom communities.

First and Second graders built mazes, based on a popular project from last year. In teams, they designed, planned, made, tested, and remade these cardboard-and-tape structures following the Design Thinking model, while brushing up their best communication and collaborative skills.

Once done, they carefully followed specific directions, limiting how they were allowed to negotiate the maze with a ping pong ball. Constraints included one hand each, non-dominant hands only, no talking, one hands-off director, three blindfolded operators, etc.

In Grades 3-5, each community member elaborately decorated a cardboard CORI beam with aspects of their individuality (name, meaningful place, favorite animal, enjoyable activity, etc.) Next, they learned to use miniature miter boxes and miter saws as they meticulously measured and cut these beams at 45-degree angles.

The resulting segments were then glued together into a rectangular chain link as part of a community chain. The metaphor of the chain was not lost on them, as they moved from individual work to collaboration in the final stages of assembling their chains.

Chip Edwards and Brian Belsha, Science & Design Teachers

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