This Week At STEAM: Week 8 – Personalized Learning

This week was Personalized Learning week.  As usual, the students started out with an Instant Challenge, but not just any instant challenge.  This one was completely random.  An Excel spreadsheet generated what they had to make (e.g., sculpture, structure, vehicle, etc.), it’s purpose (e.g., cool people off, hold a tennis ball, hit a target), its location (e.g., under the ocean, in a jungle, on the moon), and what single material (e.g., pipe cleaner, paper plate, cotton ball).  The groups had five minutes to plan their device and then ten minutes to build.  After, the students had to present it to the rest of the class.

For the remainder of the day, the students worked on their Personalized Learning project.  This project allowed the students to take an activity they were interested in during the 8 weeks and delve further into it.  To introduce Personalized Learning, a teacher may want to scaffold a bit before letting the students have free reign, especially if they (students or teacher) are not familiar or comfortable with this type of activity.  With the STEAM activity, students could pick any activity they had encountered, be it Minecraft, coding, or art.  They were given a task, which was to create a game.  The game could be a board game, card game, Phys. Ed. game, video game…or even in one case, a game show!  The students also had a theme.  The game had to teach their peers about sustainability.  Sustainability is a pretty broad topic, and we briefly touched on a couple aspects such as recycling and water filtration.  The students used the Design Process, the 4 C’s and a Game Design flowchart (credit to Devin King) to help guide them through the process.  Some students finished and some did not, but they were completely engaged in the process!

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