In our district we use flextime manager for students to choose what they want to go to during our personalized learning period. This provides a unique challenge because this means I get a new mix of kids every day. Sometimes I look at my roster and know that I can throw an extra challenge into the mix. It was a few days before break, and I wasn’t loving my challenges for the day. So, I decided to take a risk and let the class pick the challenge.
I have a philosophy during maker club that if we succeed, we succeed together, if we fail, we fail together. We started the class by explaining Mad Libs, and we then did one that I wrote for our class. Overall, it was well received by the kids.
Our STEM Mad Lib
_______________(teacher name) woke from a nightmare to realize she was at _______________(place). She looked around and saw that there was a __________________ (animal) who attacked Maker Club. The ________ (adjective) students were ____________ (adjective)! What were they to do? They gathered ____________ (item) and worked together to build __________________(item) to defeat the __________________ (same animal). They realized they also had ______________ (item) as well. But! They had a big obstacle! They had to have something ____________ on it! Where would they find that?
Remember that a good project is PLANNED well! Draw a blueprint and get it approved. If we have time, we can try and build our project.
*Yes, the animal is attacking but you have to save us without killing it (or doing anything that involves Ms Stolarski seeing animal blood)
*Work in a team of 2+
Will they succeed? Let’s find out!
How it went!
We had the situation that we had to save Maker Club from a giant penguin by creating a book. At the end of the period we shared our blueprints with our classmates and gave feedback to each other. I was AMAZED at the creativity that our kids brought forth (there were a lot of book shaped penguin traps, but it worked!). The conversations this challenge brought forth really made me smile. The kids put in a request for more Mad Lib Challenges. Now my challenge is to try and write some that are hard for the kids to predict!
Surrendering control is hard, but if done in an environment where the expectations are clear, it can be really rewarding. This is why I love running my maker club, my kids constantly amaze me with their independence and creativity!