Sunday, February 8, 2015

A Club for Creativity - Week 1

On Tuesday, February 3, 2015, a group of bright-eyed fourth graders stayed after school to begin our first Creative Circuits Club. After over three months of planning, it was finally time to start!

Stepping out of my comfort zone to try something new, I had to admit that I was both excited and nervous. As we discussed some general expectations, I was convicted to share what I thought would be very important for these students to understand..... creativity and failure lead to learning.

I wanted these students to know that perfection was not the goal. Learning is a process and failure is just a temporary event. We had a great discussion about what happens after you think you've messed up. That's the most important thing -- how you deal with what you perceive to be failure.

Day 1 ~ Light Painting 

E.H. shows her light design.
We used the Photon Capture iPad app (iTunes) along with flashlights and cell phone lights to create some interesting and fun light shows. Students tried a few strategies -- moving the light source, moving the iPad, and using the light on another surface (floor) to create different patterns. Some students also covered the lights with colored tissue paper to display colors. As time went on, students became even more creative by adding additional lights and exploring speed and shapes.

It was a buzz of talking, moving around the classroom, and lights being turned off and on as students explored new ways of thinking and attempting to create designs.

A student was working on a heart shape.
The students also did an amazing job of cooperating to share materials. We borrowed a small set of iPads (thanks Mrs. Wehr) and students worked in groups of 2-3 to take turns capturing the picture and controlling the light source.

Three students worked together - one capturing the image with the iPad, another lying on the ground, and another student tracing their body with light from a flashlight. Looks a little creepy (think - crime scene outline) but cool.

Light creation by C.H.
While some students were doing the Photon Capture app, other students were busy on their Chromebooks using a website with online light painting --  (FlamePainter3). They altered the brush style, coloring, saturation, and opacity to design some awesome light paintings. Students eagerly saved these designs as their computer backgrounds and helped each other alter different settings to create new pictures.
Orange-yellow flame by A.Y.

Day 2 ~ Squishy Circuits

The second day of club we explored Squishy Circuits. Since all of the students had studied electricity in science this year, this activity was the perfect addition to some things they already knew about conductors and insulators.

These girls put their ideas together -- one of our big ideas is that
instead of disagreeing with your group, see if you can
cooperate to combine your ideas into something new!
The process of learning how to create a working "circuit" proved to be fairly easy for some students while others struggled to remember which parts were needed in order to conduct the electricity correctly. The struggle was part of the learning, however, and it was exciting to see the students light up with amazement and cheer aloud when they finally got it to work.

After simply trying to make their LED lights glow, students started creating animals, food items, robots, and some other items not yet "identified"
This robot went through multiple revisions when
the boys discovered they would need multiple
battery packs to light up the whole thing.

A dragonfly, hamburger, and some other "items" :)
 Time flew by -- and before we knew it, clean up time had arrived. A few of us were rather relieved as the kits included mechanical buzzers and alarm sirens. This "discovery" somehow resulted in every creation needing to be "ringing" even if the actual sound had nothing to do with the creation.

We managed to make it through the afternoon with only one broken LED light and a few pieces of dough squished into the carpet. The best thing about Week 1 was the smiles, "aha's" and conversations as new ideas were tested.

Next week is another round of Squishy Circuits, then we'll begin Brush Bots. No doubt, there will be some failures along the way, but those "hiccups" on the learning path will only lead to even better ideas.

1 comment:

  1. I love the light paintings. This club looks like a great opportunity for Delaware students!