Friday, June 14, 2019

Global Cardboard Challenge Project: Ideas for Betterment

The project is mostly filled with smiles, but there's always
some teamwork conflicts that may bring a few tears and
frustration. That's part of the learning and innovation. 
Once again we engaged in the Global Cardboard Arcade Project, and I do think we get a bit better every year. Yet, it remains a BIG project that can be better. I'm sure that colleagues and students will have many ideas for betterment, but for now, here are some of my ideas.

More Time
We did rush the end of year activities because we simply had a lot to do with less time. Next year we are moving three of this year's spring projects to the fall which will create more time for this.

Better Organization
There's no way around it, the Global Cardboard Challenge is a messy, messy project, but each year we get better at it. Good organization of materials helps, and collecting the materials ahead of time helps too. These materials help a lot:
  • clean recycled bottles
  • cardboard boxes - a parent who works for a moving company donates some boxes every year.
  • duct tape
  • paint
  • paint brushes
  • box cutters (only teachers use these)
  • glue guns
  • small toys, stickers, and other items for prizes
  • (patience) - that's a joke, but in reality, this project takes a lot of patience
Better roll-out
As noted, our roll-out was a bit too quick this year, and I think these steps offer a better roll out:
  1. Time for students to preview the project if they like
  2. Review of project based learning (we'll do a good introduction of this in the fall, but for this project the IDEO shopping cart video is a good video to start)
  3. Review of what it means to work well as a team.
  4. Time to design and perhaps time to make a good prototype
  5. Time and space for building - ideally it's best to build outside where there's plenty of space. It's best to organize the materials well and introduce the materials prior to building.
  6. Time for painting - this should be done outside. It's good to set up a painting table with brushes, water, paint cups (recycled bottles cut in half), big bucket for dirty paint brushes. Extra tables to help with organization. 
  7. Time to divvy up the collected prizes, set up, and run the Arcade Day during lunchtime recess. 
  8. Time to clean up. 
The better that you can review the entire project with students with good time, the better the project will come up. Also it's best to mention the project throughout the year as you review teamwork, project based learning, and individual/collective responsibility. 

The more our fifth grade program evolves, the more I recognize that teamwork is a centerpiece skill and effort--one we'll continue to work at in the years ahead.