Current Issue Back Issues Cards
Issue 10, Spring 2013
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An Artful Thinking Classroom,
   Jessica Ross
Solving Real-World Problems With
Open Source Software
   Tim McNamara
Change Leadership For Learning,
   Tony Wagner
Deeper Learning In Common Core
Math Projects
   Sarah Strong
Design Thinking and the Shift
from Refrigerator Projects
   Lindsey Ott & Eric White
Deeper Learning For Professionals,
   Karen Fasimpaur
Gaining Perspective: Guiding
Student Reflection
   Tara Della Roca
A Differentiated Lesson, A To Z,
   Cara Littlefield
Taking A Stand On
Controversial Issues
   Mary Hendra
Scaffolding Creativity Through
Design Thinking
   Mindy Ahrens
Don’t Just Talk About
Character: Teach Habits
   Liza T. Eaton & Cyndi D.Gueswel
Teachable Moments: A Lesson In
Listening To Students
   Beth DeLuca
Mindsets and Student Agency,
   Eduardo Briceño

1: Energy Puzzles
2: Food For Thought
3: Historic Rap Throwdown
4: Turning Points, Toy Theatre
5: The End of the World Uncovered
6: Matter All Around
7: The Learning Landscape
8: Are You Fitter Than a 5th Grader?
9: The Great 9th Grade Odyssey

Energy Puzzles

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Our senior engineering students created jigsaw puzzles to introduce energy concepts to elementary age children. Each puzzle picture depicted a source or application of energy and included an age appropriate explanation laminated beneath the puzzle. The students printed their pictures using a cyanotype process and photosensitive paper prepared in class by mixing iron salts that react to form a deep blue dye (Prussian blue) when exposed to sunlight.  The developed pictures were decoupaged to hardboard and cut into puzzle pieces with a laser cutter. A one page description of the energy represented by the picture was decoupaged to the puzzle frame under the pieces. During this project, students used their knowledge of how light interacts with matter to both create (with sunlight) and cut (with a laser) their puzzle pictures. They also learned to reframe a complex energy concept into a narrative engaging to a 5th grader.  Students chose one of four roles: a researcher, an artist, a carpenter, and a chemist. Students assessed each other’s product for quality of workmanship, technical accuracy, and adherence to the theme. The ultimate assessment however was the level of engagement on the part of the elementary school students to whom the puzzles were presented.

Teacher reflection
I was most surprised by how much more seriously the students took the project once they realized the final product would actually get used by 5th graders. There were many glitches that could have derailed the project but they repeatedly came up with creative solutions to make sure their puzzle would get delivered. The authenticity of the deliverable was the key. I also appreciated how this project integrated so many ideas and skills, from light to energy to chemistry to writing to carpentry.

Student Reflections:
It was interesting to try and explain wind turbines to a fifth grader.  It made me think about exactly how a turbine works, and how to explain it in a simple way.                      —Daniel

What I found most interesting was the way that light transfers energy based on the frequency of the light. I now think of this when I think of sun burns, plants, and photos. I enjoy learning things I can use to explain things in my life.  —Madison