Real world learning is taking a standard or topic in school and having students apply it to an authentic experience. It’s when students can take the content being learned and create something that can be seen in real life. This past month, I have been working on a RWL project with my 8th grade Advanced Robotics class. This is an elective class, so it seemed like the perfect class to spend some time experimenting with something new.
The RWL project my students are working on right now involves mechanisms and the design process. My 8th graders have been paired with 2nd grade clients. Their design challenge is to build a working mechanical toy for their clients, based on their interests. This project involves a lot of collaboration with another teacher in our cohort, Kory Graham (@korytellers). Kory is having her 2nd graders, in their Innovations class at our primary school, learn all about gears and motion on their end.
One of the tools we have been using a lot for this project is Padlet. This has been a pivotal communication portal for the students. We have been able to have the 8th graders ask their interview questions, similar to design thinking empathy interviews. Have the 2nd graders answer these questions, and give updates throughout the project.
This platform is easy to use, my students were simply able to add their own block to the padlet “wall” without signing up. The video attachment is also very easy to use. Pictures of the collaboration are shown below.
The project has been going very well so far. Both sides are very excited to be working together. As far as sharing the final products, our classes do not meet at the same time during the day. So we will have to drop off the toys one day, let the 2nd graders play with the toys for a day, record their feedback, and then pick up the toys to bring them back to the middle school. Feedback will be given to the 8th graders by both myself and the 2nd graders.