It all started with a series of Tweets. Yes, many great ideas percolate on Twitter. Last Friday night a conversation began by Aviva, @avivaloca asking for ideas for inexpensive iPad covers. Well, sometimes late on a Friday evening, educators are very tired and get a little punchy. My husband, @bharrisonp sugggested Duct Tape. Well apparently there really is a way to create iPad covers using Duct Tape. See this site for instructions http://www.craftbits.com/project/duct-tape-ipad-cover The viewing of the link led to a discussion on ways students could use Duct Tape in the classroom. The following people were involved in the chat, @haledog, @cherraolthof, @klirenman, @wrightsroom . @kathycassidy @corisaas and others jumped into the conversation a little later in the night. Soon we had developed a Duct Tape Challenge. Yes, we would bring in duct tape for our students and present them with a challenge to create something by Friday January 25th. It was decided we would document the process or the final products and do some sharing at the end of the month. This might lead to Skype calls, blog entries or voice threads.
This challenge is an inquiry for students to explore and discover the properties of duct tape but it also is a way to bring some excitement into the classrooms during a long wintery month in Canada. Yes, as an educator in Ontario, I needed a little pick me up and that’s why I jumped in for this crazy challenge.
How to start?
I teach in a full day Kindergarten program with a designated Early Childhood Educator. Together we looked at the Kindergarten documents and looked at the science curriculum and the arts. We found many links and thought about how we could make this as open ended as possible.
Some of the curriculum expectations we will address are:
-Conducting simple investigations through free exploration, focused exploration, and guided activity, using inquiry skills (questioning, planning, predicting, observing, communicating);
-State problems and pose questions as part of the design process;
-Make predictions and observations throughout the design process;
-Communicate and record results and findings after constructing things either individually or in groups;
-Use problem-solving strategies when experimenting with the skills, materials, processes, and techniques used in visual arts both individually and with others;
Steps I’ve outlined for the investigations:
1. Explore, investigate, compare and discuss different tapes and fasteners.
Students were put in groups and together explored four pieces of tape and recorded their observations. Together we gathered and created an anchor chart on our learning as a class. It was fascinating what they discovered and the language they used.
Here is a Pic Collage of Day One
2. Explore, investigate and discuss what duct tape can do.
We will work in partners and use one long strip of duct tape. They will cut, fold, roll, crunchy and explore ways to manipulate the tape. They will record their findings and share with the class.
3. View and discuss what Duct tape how could be used.
I’m still debating how much to show and how much to leave open. I want to show a few photos of projects that have been created with duct tape, but my fear is children sometimes think they must do what is shown. I’d like to leave it open and see what they can create. I’m still working through this stage.
4. Planning -Offer the opportunity to work in groups, partners or individually.
Students will create a plan by drawing what they would like to attempt to make from duct tape.
Students will be given big blocks of time to create, problem solve and try again.
6. Recording findings
Students will record what they discovered, what worked and didn’t work. We might create a ‘tips’ page of sorts.
7. Display and self reflect.
We will display and reflect on the creations and find ways to share them with others.
I am also planning on doing a follow up activity at the end of week. They will be able to make items in art in 3D sculpture format, or in a jewelery making format. I haven’t consolidated that task yet. It will all depend on what they do this week in their creation time.
I would also like to put duct tape at the building center and art centers this week and observe what happens.
This is a fun task for me as a teacher as I watch students create. I am hoping through all of these steps, I will make the task manageable and successful for the students. I worry that some readers might think I’m simply dropping Duct Tape in the classroom and saying go for it, without any thought as how to scaffold to create a positive experience.
If you want to join in, please do so. On Twitter we are using the hashtag #ducttapechallenge and #ducttapechat for discussions. You can also leave a comment if you would like to be a part of this process. I would love to hear how you will present this task to your learners.
Bring on the duct tape!