Scaffolding Impossible Dreams – #makered topic
I’ve really enjoyed the collegial and informal feel that’s emerged from the Tuesday evening #makered chats over the last few months. Compressing dialog into twitter chunks always presents a challenge, but I deeply appreciate how the #makered group talks to each other far more than sling salvos and automated A1, A2, A3 responses. We’re colleagues reflecting together, looking for and providing support feedback, support and inspiration.
It’s in that spirit that I bring this #makered topic before the group: How do you build a scaffold for students inspired by the impossible?
Obviously, students excited about an idea or fired up for a any project is way better than the alternative. Passion is something we can work with, right?
But in the last two years I’ve bungled this process any number of times. My goal is always to transfer the heat of a student’s impossible dream to an achievable project where it can ignite, consume and grow. But my track record of finding scaled-down analogues or starter projects is poor.
Here’s one that’s worrying at my #makered heart this summer. Two rising 8th grade girls, both new to the #makered program, spent the end of May consumed with the idea of building a refrigerated locker. From the school/admin level that’s impossible on a number of levels, but as someone still Parker Lewis Can’t Lose, I can’t just say no to that!
I can avoid the administration fight by shifting the end game – there’s a few banks of extra lockers in storage. Bringing one of those into the #makered space would give them a way to build their dream without upsetting the middle school applecart. But what’s the starting point? Do I source a broken mini fridge off of freecycle for dissection? These are bright girls, but I don’t think that “go research passive cooling” is going to yield enough progress to keep them excited. Should we start with the physical constraints, ie. try to model an insulated locker compartment, and then worry about the climate parts later?
I worry about this moment because I see it as the core of the Maker Mindset. How do you dream of an impossible summit and then find the handholds to start climbing? That skill, more than anything, is what I hope #makered kids develop. And it’s entirely outside my teacher-craft wheelhouse.
Do you have a process for helping students take bites off the impossible pie? Please come by the #makered chat this Tuesday and share! The chat runs about an hour, starting at 3p/6e.