My Grade 7s are five weeks into their First Lego League robotics unit. The theme this year is 'City Shaper' and students are looking for problems in their city that they can solve through design. We have laid a lot of the ground work, through watching different videos, including 'Sustainable Development City' and 'EPCOT' (from 10 minutes 20 seconds). We've also discussed if Stuttgart is stressful or not, as it was voted the least stressful city in the world. We also had an excellent guest speak, UX designer Elinor Samuelsson, who focusses on improving mental health through design. She worked on the Kokon, a relaxation pod for offices, and is now working on a happiness project, for Helsingborg, Sweden, which is part of the cities larger innovation project.
Today teams had to brainstorm lots of problems in our city, then finally each team selected the problem they are going to focus on. You can use this brainstorming technique for any scenario. I love it because they go big first, coming up with as man ideas as possible, then they find connections, then they narrow it down! It's also fun and get's students out of their seats!
1. CLASS DISCUSSION: As a class we discuss the theme first [Here was talked about city problems & Solutions - everything from e-bikes to the amount of people who smoke in public in Germany]
2. CARDS: Each table was given a stack of cards. Each individual student wrote as many problems as they could. One problem on each card.
3. SORTING, CONNECTING: When they had their cards filled, as a class, we worked on sorting them and making connections [themes that emerged including entertainment, art, green spaces and pollution]
4. ELABORATING: One student, who has been taking the lead on making the connections shared out with the class the themed that emerged and how the cards were organised. He also read out loud some of the cards
5. JUSTIFYING: Each student choose the one problem they cared most about, then answered some questions in their process journal.
6. SHARING: In their teams, each student had one minute to share out the problem they picked and why. Their team mates were encouraged to ask 'what makes you say that?" whenever their teammate could provide more details
7. SELECTING: The groups had time to focus on the problem they want to focus on.
8. HIGHLIGHTING: Students wrote a newspaper headline about their problem. They could write it either about the problem right now, or they could write a future headline!
Below you can see some of their ideas. I also added a picture of the hole puncher I use to make these.
This fits in with one of my favourite AtL skill indicators! Thinking - Creative Thinking - "Use brainstorming and visual diagrams to generate new ideas and inquiries"