For the fourth year in a row, Lower School students participated in the annual #CardboardChallenge to imagine, design, plan and create structures related to what they are learning.
Inspired by a 9-year old boy in East L.A., MVPS students joined in the national initiative to create cardboard communities — exercising curiosity, making connections, and demonstrating creativity.
The Cardboard Challenge, launched by Imagination Foundation whose mission is to foster creativity and entrepreneurship in children around the world, offers students an opportunity to design and build — using their imaginations, recycled materials and cardboard.
Through a playful learning experience while demonstrating deep learning of their core subjects, our students in Kindergarten through grade 4 implemented the MV Mindsets and Design Thinking principles to explore essential questions. For example:
- What needs drive innovation?
- How does innovation affect society?
- How are communities created?
- How do communities change over time?
- What are the building blocks of earth
- How do landforms influence where we live
- How can I give directions to navigate the unknown successfully?
- What is a maze?
Each grade level worked on projects unique to their respective units of study.
This fall Kindergartners have explored many aspects of their community– roads, bridges, buildings and even classrooms. Additionally, they have enjoyed an emerging relationship with external expert Mr. Dan the Architect Man who offered feedback on students’ cardboard challenge prototypes. Reinforcing the need to plan in order to build, the architect inspired them to use skills such as: reading, writing, measuring, designing, and collaborating. For the Cardboard Challenge they structured their own community on the courtyard.
In first grade students are actively practicing design thinking as they explore the world. Learning how to navigate and pivot, they designed a variety of mazes and obstacle courses for their friends to maneuver. Theirs was the only grade level that didn’t need any external assistance (tape, glue, scissors) – their creations interlocked.
Second graders are discovering Georgia through landforms and habitats. Refining their research through both science and art, they demonstrated their knowledge of local landmarks such as Stone Mountain and the Chattahoochee River.
Third graders are gaining a deeper understanding of different types of communities: rural, suburban and urban. To prepare for their challenge, they interviewed friends and family members to explore areas outside of our urban city of Atlanta. On the courtyard, they replicated multiple types of environments.
Fourth graders extended their unit on European exploration by building a castle. Using skills from math, social studies and design thinking, students were asked to meet certain criteria as well as open their imaginative minds.
Prior to the event, parents contributed stacks and mounds of cardboard boxes and remnants. A significant amount of materials was donated by local businesses, Kroger, Home Depot and Target – in response to letters of request sent by third graders. Additionally, our own Ms. Sikes’ father, the owner of a shipping company, contributed piles of cardboard.
Jim Tiffin, Director of Media and Maker Programs, shares, “The most exhilarating part of this project is the amount of reflection and tradition we have in it, now. Students know it’s coming and get really excited about it. Also, we’ve built in structure to hit learning outcomes, all while kids are planning, designing, creating, and reflecting.”
And what about wishes for next year? Tiffin continues, “Next year? We’re going to add a clean up component as part of the experience.”
“This is the best day EVER”
“Our build didn’t go exactly like our plan, but it turned out great anyway!”
On Twitter, Imagination Foundation recognizes MVPS as “MVPs”: