Design Thinking, Critical Thinking and other forms of collaborative group work have become popular methods of inquiry in many classrooms. Vital to the success of this work is the ability and willingness of students to: share ideas freely, be open to compromise, be willing to let a strongly held belief go in order to further group progress and consensus, and to realize that different inputs lead invariably to different results.
Using the INTOOBA Construction Kit, I have created a largely non verbal classroom exercise where these topics can be investigated. Establishing non verbal parameters dramatically illustrate how students can communicate the abovementioned concepts through thought and action.
Click HERE for INTOOBA Construction Kit
The purpose of this exercise is to show young learners how they can develop collaborative skills for group project work. Students learn:
• how to appreciate the input of others
• how to give up firmly held ideas to reach consensus
• that different inputs/circumstances/variables lead to different outcomes
Teachers can see how students actively tackle ideas through group manipulative work.
This exercise is done in three non verbal stages, followed by a discussion of the process and outcomes.
The teacher gives students, in groups of 2-6, a task to complete. Using the INTOOBA Construction Kit, students can build a spacecraft, a chair, a bridge. The teacher puts the manipulative material in front of the students, and explains that this process occurs in three non verbal steps.
Step 1: Student starts by picking up a manipulative and adding a piece to it; it is then passed to the next student in rotation until the task is complete. Students may only add one piece to the construction. Upon completion, a visual image of the product is captured for future comparison.
Step 2: The same process is repeated. Only this time, the student may take a turn either by adding a manipulative to, or taking one off, the construction. Capture image.
Step 3: In this final round, students may do either or both adding and subtracting a piece. Capture image.
Class discussion to follow:
• What did it feel like not to be able to communicate verbally?
• What did it feel like if your item was removed by a subsequent participant?
• What did it feel like to remove a piece?
• Discuss how the three outcomes varied and why.