So, I tried something ambitious today, and wanted to share it here. Our in-person programming is still paused, but I’ve been doing a monthly STEAM visit with a local Kindergarten classroom. We did little bristle bots and they had a blast, so I decided to try paper circuits!
Going in, I knew I’d have to make some modifications, but a lot of them incidentally helped employ some of the Creative Facilitation techniques we practice. For example:
Since it’s a younger group, I had to put the circuitry science into an approachable context (avoiding technical jargon). For that I used the idea of Circuits as Circles (need to be closed), and we played a game where kids made hand circles with a friend and ‘broke’ the circuits. Then, I simplified circuits to 3 core items (power source, thing that needs power, connectors), and we went over what those were in our materials. Finally, I talked about opposites (positive and negative sides of a battery, and used the silly book, Vegetables in Underwear, to drive home the point home and get some giggles going.
Then, I knew that my facilitation would have to be remote, meaning that I quite literally could not touch the tools. This meant a lot of prep work of preparing ‘kits’ for the educators, and doing a short meeting with them to talk about the program beforehand, which was also a great opportunity to introduce some Creative Learning Tips into their practices!
Another benefit of not being their in person was that I couldn’t really be seen as the ‘expert’ in the room, which helped facilitate peer learning. When a child was able to get something working, they instantly worked to help catch up their friends, and were proud to be able to help the teachers.
All that being said, there were still some setbacks, and TBH there was a thread of absolute chaos running through the whole thing! For example
Since I had little ‘kits’ that the whole class would be working on, and wanted to simplify for the educators, have diverse examples/ projects was tough. Kids were able to personalize their cards to the person they wanted, and we talked a bit about that with the book If You’ll Be My Valentine, but other than that it was pretty boxed in.
Man did I underestimate the time needed for this project! Due to the way the school day is structured, I only had 55 minutes. Which meant that we didn’t have time for ‘reflection’, and kids were only just finishing getting their cards to light up before we had to wrap.
Anyhoo, that’s a LONG explanation of a small ‘remix’, here are the slides I used with the class, project pictures will be added as I get them!