Room 2 has had tremendous patience. We have been watching a particular student (some of you might be familiar with him) create fabulous inventions out of recycled materials on almost a daily basis. This has been going on for the last year and a half in Room 2. Recycled materials are his craft, his calling. And the rest of the students, patient and practical, understood that we were learning other things and using other media and it just wasn’t the TIME and PLACE to build with boxes.
Until Wednesday. When our Space unit practically DEMANDED that we build spacecrafts. How else to work out the difference between a rocket and an orbiter and a rover? And if we are going to study space, we needed a way to get there. I was thinking small…I asked each family to send one box and two cylinders (toilet paper tubes). “You could bring other recycled materials to make the spacecrafts more interesting,” I suggested. I was thinking like a teacher. “I’ll ask them to name the 3-D shapes in the spacecrafts and to count the faces, edges, and vertices. That will be a great way to help them practice their geometry.”
Clearly, I was underestimating my class. The wave of creativity knocked me over.
“Can we put all of our materials together?” asked one group. “Who’s going to take it home?” “Who cares, let’s leave it at school!” Ten minutes later, they were wrestling to keep the 3-ft. tall creation from falling over. The gallon jug they had chosen as a base wasn’t supporting the weight of the boxes and the Dutch Brothers cup. We had moved from spacecraft to space colony. We were engineering.
I walked to another table and discover a magnificent collection of objects in a plastic container: Lego pieces, broken plastic toys, ribbon, etc.
“They’re my doodads,” my student explains. Apparently she was not the only one who brought in a collection of doodads. I try to figure out what the radio antenna on another spacecraft was made out of. The inside of an old glue stick.
The creative wave shows no sign of ending. I have warned them that I might have to cut off the use of tape. How will we ever decorate the outsides if we keep adding on?
But we have launched an incredible journey here. I can’t wait to see where this project lands. I have checked out 15 copies of Star Jumper: Journal of a Cardboard Genius by Frank Asch from the library…