The last few days my fourth graders have been working on designing and planning the catapults they will soon be building. Catapults have been our focus since the beginning of the school year. Our catapult inquiry has led us to research many aspects of catapults, record our learning, cite our sources, and build catapults with a pre-selected set of materials. By building with those selected materials, the kids figured out what would and would not work when building our catapults from self-selected materials.
When it was time to finally design and plan, the kids could go about it in anyway that worked best for THEM.
Some kiddos scooped out the supplies available to them first.
Some kids started designing their catapult on paper first.
One kiddo skipped the paper option and announced he would be using 3DTin to design a 3D model of his catapult. His idea intrigued another student who sat down and began learning 3DTin as well.
Other groups of kids sat down and started looking at some ideas for creating catapults online and then moved into designing or checking out materials.
Our students are getting used to learning in the way that works best for them. After all, as adults we work in the way that will lead to success so why not allow kids to decide their path of learning. If what they decide doesn't work, they will figure that out and adjust for their own success.