A dinosaur grapples with technology's place in education

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Tower Tech Challenge

As noted, post Trevor and Agnieszka's visit we did three tech challenges with the students. The first was a classic egg drop: construct a protective envelop for an egg dropped at height. Of all the groups only one survived wholly intact. The next challenge was creating clothing for one boy and one girl using only newspaper and tape, described in my last post.

The third tech challenge was to build the tallest tower which could stand on its own and support a uniformly determined 'flag', again using only newspaper, tape, and this time a bit of string.

Groups worked furiously, and at time fruitlessly, racing against the clock and stealing ideas from other teams as they went.

In this challenge, the groups self selected, which provided some interesting and different results. First of all, most of teams, as one would expect all over the world, were single gender. And I would say just anecdotally that the ratio of cooperation and fun/success to frustration/tears was about the same.

I was kept busy bounding about, jumping up on the rails and then lying flat on my back, taking photos. The beauty of such activities, for a photographer, is that the kids are so busy and focused they don't have time to throw in their stock poses and gestures, mugging for the camera, which they LOVE to do.

I have been assembling a slide show for the school documenting the experiences of Liger's inaugural first weeks. If this time is passing quickly for me, I can't imagine what a blur it must be in the mind of an eight year old village kid. Once I have the show together I will save it and upload it.
In the end the team who first developed the notion of a tripod leg ran out of tape and so could not get their tower to stand freely.However, in the post discussion debriefing, Robert made a big deal out of their innovation and also the virtue of borrowing a good idea. All in all it was a high energy day with endless opportunities for learning; about teamwork, creativity, physics, stewardship of materials- the list goes on. 

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