“Nothing important works the first time. The only way to get it right is to look carefully at what happened when it went wrong. To succeed you need the freedom to goof on the way.” By Seymour Papert
Please, visit our WISDOM BEGINS IN WONDER wix to appreciate the full extent of this project.
This Ancient Greece project has exceeded all our expectations…
We all know that Learning by making requires bending materials or the computer to one’s will so as to solve problems. However, what we witnessed went far beyond meeting the expected curriculum goals. During the last weeks, our 5th year classrooms have become interesting spaces for creative work where students have worked passionately and collaboratively in the making of different products. All kinds of materials were available such as clay, paint, cloth, porcelain, stones, wire…you name it. However, the materials and tools used in the projects were just another resource, much less important than the intellectual processes involved. Students could be seen walking by holding either a brush in their hand or a computer, stones, wool, glue or thread and needles. Everything was useful, everything could be turned with a little imagination into their chosen products.
Students were able to demonstrate habits of mind including persistence, perseverance, curiosity, resourcefulness, literacy and social capital by engaging in real pursuits. And it makes us think how important it is for MAKING to permeate the entire school.
During this project we were not encountered with as many “learning disabilities” as we usually do in our regular lessons. Each student brought their own abilities and creativity to their group and together they worked around solving problems… As educators, the best we can do is to prepare children to solve problems that we adults might have not anticipated.
”Wisdom Begins in Wonder” unit allowed students to take control of their own learning as they took ownership of projects they did not just design but define. The children learned to share ideas and work with others, to offer constructive criticism sensitively, and to praise the effort and achievements of their peers. They learnt perseverance by working on a project that made them want to stick to it.
Children liked making decisions for themselves and doing practical work. They loved creating products they could see, or touch for themselves. They feel proud to have done so. It brings learning to life. Head and hands working together; having to think about specific purposes and uses for their products is much more demanding than simply following instructions to make something. Children have to think, decide and plan, evaluate and improve and share solutions with a real audience. Which makes the results as rewarding for us teachers as they are for the kids.
Families were invited to witness the presentation of students final productions/products. In this final display students presented their projects, explained the engineering design process they had been through and showed their understanding of the topic by enthusiastically sharing their work. This stage was a complete success! Finally, students reflected on the whole unit so as to recapture and revisit their learning experience.