Slice of Life: this is really just writing

This morning I had students in class 20 minutes before the start of school.

“I’m so excited about my slide show. Do you want to see?”

“I worked so much on it last night.”

I knew they were motivated, but had no idea a new way to write up science learning would generate this enthusiasm.

On Monday, students finished their paper roller coasters. An eight-day process where students faced the design and social challenges of working in teams. Structures failed. And were rebuilt. Friendships, as well as engineering ideas, are tested.  It was stressful fun, and in the end, all achieved their goals.

A lot of me wanted to let the experience of experimentation be the end, but I know that writing about creation and learning is essential to solidify both. In past science units, I have them write up a page to represent their learning. But the hint of that possibility evoked groans.

Enter the option of Google Slides, and the energy in the room shifted as did their motivation to work well beyond my expectations.

Today, as they continued their write-ups, M– sat on the carpet, Chromebook on her lap. Notebook open. She looked up at me and said, “You know, this is really just writing.”

“Hmm,” I said.

She smiled and went back to writing.