Imagine this...Kindergarten all the way through fifth grade spent two weeks tackling interesting challenges all based on one state standard of the teacher’s choosing…The teacher chose the guiding instructional standard, the students created the driving question, and while in collaborative groups the students engineered and presented products that amazed us all. It was a much-needed reminder that authentic student-owned learning is NOT measured by circling the correct letter choice.
In kindergarten they knew their four steps...Together they created marble runs, designed multi-leveled boats to carry passengers across flooding waters, and created a safe place for Humpty Dumpty to land so he wouldn't crack.
First, Second, Third, Fourth, Fifth - Every grade level, filled with collaborative groups engineering all types of products: Dog Massager, Sink Mechanical Systems, Instruments, Cars and Ramps with Limited Friction, Freezers, and SO MUCH MORE -
One day...two weeks in the making - and it was one amazing learning moment after another. Student after student excitedly shared with community members, teachers, parents, district leaders, and other students the creative things they designed and built together….
Students were collaborators, readers, designers, engineers, re-designers, learners from failure, writers, researchers, innovators, partners, friends, and public speakers to name just a few...what they weren’t? Letter bubblers...Why? Because The Engineer Expo started with one goal in mind...for students to own their learning, and I have never seen more engagement! I can’t think of a single time as a teacher, or administrator, where students were handed a multiple choice test and they cheered excitedly, talked about it at home, spent every waking hour working on it because they just didn’t want to stop, or made mistakes along the way as authentic learning opportunities...but that is exactly what I saw during the engineering process from EVERY student.
At the end of the day the students and teachers were equally tired, yet smiles were everywhere. I couldn’t help but think one thing...Now that is what learning should look like.