Mount Vernon’s fifth annual Cardboard Challenge was a great success. Students in Kindergarten through grade 4 took time over the course of four days to work in small teams wrestling with the question, “How might we share our love of creative play by building stations that elevate learning in the corners of our campus?”

Using this annual event as another chance to build design thinking muscles, each grade level paired up with a different grade level to conduct interviews around that question. The end goal was for one grade level team to create something for the team they interviewed. Interviews were unpacked, prototypes created, and feedback gathered before teams created their final drafts.

On Build Day, the teams went to work. Each grade level had a specific time of day they would build, and a time when they would get to share and play with the grade for whom they designed.

The sheer number of interactive creations, with projects such as student-power ticket dispensers and moving obstacles, was impressive. How they incorporated “elevated learning”, with ideas like scoring systems and measuring to make sure their users would fit in the tunnels and obstacle courses they made, was equally impressive. Perhaps most exciting was how they thought about addressing the “corners of our campus”. With some teams thinking about specific spaces on the campus, like the ends of the hallways or parts of the Courtyard, they designed stations that could actually fit in those spaces.

Several students have since expressed interest in taking some of their cardboard models to the next level. Maybe we’ll see some of these stations actually inhabit one of those corners in a higher level of craftsmanship and functionality one day. Stay tuned.

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