Cardboard Community Inspires Creativity

Oct 8, 2014 | Innovation, Lower School News, Media Galleries, Uncategorized

Screenshot 2014-10-06 22.30.21Abound with a sense of wonder and curiosity, Lower School students recently rose to the challenge to build entire communities…out of cardboard. For a second year in row, Mount Vernon participated in what is known as the Global Cardboard Challenge. Inspired by the short film, ‘Caine’s Arcade’, this annual event presented by the Imagination Foundation, celebrates child creativity and the role communities can play in fostering it.
Led by grade 2 Learning Coach Jake Thompson and each of the Lower School teachers, the School’s Cardboard Challenge was designed with the intention of fostering creativity and critical thinking skills. By applying content knowledge acquired in their classrooms, students were encouraged to use their imaginations to design structures out of cardboard boxes.
Specifically, Kindergarten explored the basic elements of community through jobs, signs, buildings, and transportation. Grade 1 approached their challenge by looking at the skylines of various cities, including Victoria, British Columbia and Anchorage, Alaska. Developing their unit of study around landforms, Grade 2 created areas prevalent in the state of Georgia. Through research, reading, and journaling, they built examples of Stone Mountain, the Okefenokee Swamp, and the Chattahoochee River. Comparing and contrasting communities, grade 3 constructed 3-D maps of communities and buildings found in those unique areas. Grade 4 approached their challenge through the lens of medieval history, conducting mock interviews, prototyping, and constructing castles that would be fit for a king or queen.
What did students find to be the most challenging aspects of the experience? Here’s what many students shared:
Kaki Bush (Trenney’s grade 3)“Cutting and getting the cardboard to move, stack, and stay together.”
Jonathan Gallinaro (King’s grade 3) “Building how high it goes because there was not a lot of stiff boxes to get it high enough.  It was still fun though!”
Ryland Kruep (Farnham’s grade 4) “Trying to find out what the base should be.”
What did they like most about the learning experience?
Lauren Reece (Brady’s grade 1)“Playing with my friends!”
Sam deLima (Guttery’s Kindergarten)“I build like a little fun house cave and I could ask for tickets.  But then someone else, the big 3 year olds (third graders), wrecked it, even when the principal said that they should not.”
Scarlett McCarthy (Bradford’s grade 2) “Making the tree using a long piece of cardboard that was in a circle.  Then we found green paper that could go on top of it.”
Jake Green (Terry’s grade 2)“Getting to build the waterfall.”
The Cardboard Challenge required a lot of collaboration between and among grade levels, staff, and even Upper School student volunteers. All students played the role of communicator to creatively build their structures and became solution seekers when their prototypes and plans did not produce the large-scale results they had predicted.
Afterwards, ensuring the endless quantities of cardboard would be recycled, Mount Vernon’s Director of Media & Maker, Jim Tiffin, contacted numerous local businesses like Trader Joes, Home Depot, Pier 1, and Party City. Each of these businesses ‘shared their well’ with Mount Vernon to ensure the Cardboard Challenge was a sustainable success!
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