Students are standing on tables.
There is cardboard and other materials on the floor.
Marbles are bouncing from one spot to another.
It's the marble maze Rube Goldberg simple machine project and the room is turned upside down.
Most students embrace the activity as they craft marble mazes that have at least three simple machines. A few others who have less experience or interest in making, find the project challenging.
The project challenges traditional school spaces too. Our school is not created for big, open projects like this so the project challenges the space. Many educators don't embrace these projects either so the project also challenges the teaching/learning staff.
Time creates a challenge with this project too. Our time for projects like these is small compared to other types of learning and expectations. It's tough to squeeze these projects in amongst other expectations.
But, fortunately, we are engaging in this hands-on, problem solving STEAM activity--an activity that introduces students' to the wonderful possibilities that exist when you combine Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math. We are whetting the appetite for STEAM in these young children, an appetite they'll be able to continue to meet as they move on in school, play at home, and choose summer and vacation activities.
Though challenging, I'm very glad we're moving in this direction, it will only get better in time.