Monday, April 25, 2016

Rethink The Box

Sometimes I wish there was more time in the day to do the things I hope to do.
Sometimes I need to curb my enthusiasm.

Thankfully, logistics postponed a new project I wanted to try. I signed up for Rethink The Box but I was just informed by the organizers that they had reached their 20 team limit and I would be on the waiting list. (Not getting accepted meant that there's one week in May where I'll actually be at my school for a full five days - that's not a bad thing!)

What's Rethink the Box? I should have known more about it earlier, because it's led by a lady I know - Sharon Moskovitz. She and Shaun Grant were recently in Cleveland sharing this initiative at #STEMCon. (I saw her tweets but didn't clue in.) 
I should have also been aware sooner because the talented Teresa Allan and Robert Reyes tried it out during last summer's #lmmss STEM-themed summer school.
I only realized what it was all about when I attended Ray Mercer and Shaun Grant's TDSB STEM-DLL (Science Technology Engineering Math Digital Lead Learner) after school workshop on MakerSpaces and STEM last Wednesday.
Back to the question: What's Rethink the Box? Their website, explains it well. Teams (of five students with a teacher) are given a box with some materials inside and challenged to find a solution to a given problem. An example of an open-ended problem is something like "design some assistive technology that would help a student in your school with a disability". What I appreciated was that Ray and Shaun said that the teams could consist of anyone - teachers didn't have to choose their "most successful" students. The extra-special touch is that "real-life" engineers are present to help students convert their ideas and concepts into a physical reality. I could see students really getting excited about something like this. It won't harm my students, however, to wait a year before they experience it for themselves at a board-wide event.

Have questions about #rethinkthebox? Ask @raycmercer, @TeacherHann, @s_m077 or @CanadaGrant on Twitter.

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