Today was the most fulfilling day in my teaching career!! Our fourth grade team hosted the first ever Cardboard Challenge at our school. To merely say that it was a success would be a huge understatement.
Thanks to Twitter, we learned about a kid named Caine who became famous for a cardboard arcade he created in California. His arcade inspired people from around the world to come and visit his arcade. It also inspired other kids to begin designing things made of cardboard. Finally, it became a movement, and the Global Cardboard Challenge was born.
Unfortunately, we missed the global challenge in October, but we figured an ordinary day in March could be just as amazing. And it was.
Today our fourth graders filed into the gym and gazed around at 15 piles of cardboard. Their task was to design and build a creation of their choice. Their tools were cardboard, scissors, and duct tape. They had 20 minutes to come up with various ideas, sketch their designs, collaborate, and choose one design. After that, they had roughly 3 hours to create their vision.
Students created a computer desk equipped with headphones and slice of pizza in case they got hungry as they worked. Another group created a house topped with a parapet (a past vocabulary word this year), a sidewalk, and a mailbox. An anger management robot was one group’s creation, and another group created a nicely appointed tent graced with a chandelier.
All their ideas were mind blowing, but the best part was this:
- Students designed, redesigned, and problem solved
- Students encouraged, collaborated, and gave feedback to one another
- Students practiced math, art, and science
- Students showed perseverance and patience; with their projects and with each other
- Students were enthusiastic and creative
My take away from today?
We need to do school more like we did it today. We need to give kids more opportunities to learn problem solving and teamwork in a real world scenario. I….we.. all of us, need to find more ways to let kids be kids, to play with cardboard, to get a little frustrated, to figure out ways to make things work, to think like an inventor, and who knows, maybe someday, to change the world!