Creating as learning

 Some rights reserved by mrkrndvs


I’ve been thinking a lot about the idea of personalised learning and how to set it up so different people learn differently.  If we can encourage curiosity and provide engaging contexts we can have students pursuing their own goals.

Our next unit is about how our changing understanding of energy effects living things.  I think this a pretty great unit for students to start exploring their own interests. We are asking them (for at least three times every week) to work on a problem they see connected to our central idea.  At first we had some issues if we needed to provide different problems for students to explore, however, after some talking to colleagues we agreed that we would let students pick their own problems.

We used forms to ask students what they thought a problem might be, we lumped the big ideas surrounding each problem together and a teacher will take a group with related problems together.  Students can decide to work in either groups or on their own to pursue this idea.

It starts on Monday, really looking forward to it.  Any ideas for things they might be able to create?





4 Replies to “Creating as learning”

  1. Awesome Joe! It seems your unit is more focused on living systems however I could see redesigning existing products being a fun STEAM link here. How can they make objects that they use every day better insulated (i.e.: keep drinks colder/warmer, window/door insulation, clothing insulation, etc.)? Perhaps they could construct solar ovens, water heaters, solar distillation apparatuses? From a living systems perspective, they could toy around with using different materials to construct greenhouses and see the affect on plant growth (for example, using different coloured cellophane)? They could investigate flowers and grow flowers for bees and butterflies to have an energy rich supply of nectar?

    Also, hi from Cambodia!


    1. Hey Camille (also Hi from Singapore), we’re not actually too focused on living systems, we are more focused on the creation of an energy system I think… but it’s pretty open. I like the insulation idea a lot. Something simple that almost anyone could do. We are hoping someone gets on the solar ovens too (especially here, I mean so sunny). The following unit is a farming unit, and I teach a bilingual class who is doing farming at the same time, so I hope they get in some farming ideas as well, haven’t thought of the cellophane, so that’s really interesting thanks!
      We also have an outdoor learning center, so the bees already come by for the flowers, but we might be able to look which food works well for supplying food for our bee friends.

      Thanks so much for the ideas!


  2. From an Environmental point of view (I always love the genius hour or maker space process when it takes the world a wee bit more green!) .. perhaps food security (insulation as Camille suggests as an example or greenhouse related), clean energy (wind, water, solar, geothermal) or transportation related (what student doesn’t like a little competition in design and effectiveness?).
    Always happy to help – let us know if we can!


    1. Thanks Rob, We start on Monday, we are having students from different classes pick a problem they are interested in. I was assigned extraction of resources, so we’ll look a little more into that. For my own class I’m excited to see what we explore. I’ll keep you all posted.


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