If you are the parent of a Blue Bander you might have heard something about balloons this week. Yes, we are studying the history of the first human flight, yes, we’ve been looking at balloons through the lens of geometry and yes, our literature study book is Twenty-One Balloons by DuBois, but there is a bigger story here. To make something truly amazing (like an enormous balloon that can take our stuffed animal aeronauts into the sky) you have to work together with other people. What this week has really been about is teamwork and collaboration. You know what? It’s actually incredibly hard!
Our group has been presented with challenges big and small this week and asked to reflect on how best to collaborate and communicate. We’ve done all sorts of team building games like the marshmallow challenge where students were given dried spaghetti, tape, string and a limited amount of time, then asked to build a tower strong enough to support a marshmallow.
Sadie, Tamasen and Lily worked on a tripod to support their marshmallow. Sadie spearheaded several iterations. When the team got frustrated, Tamasen chimed in with some encouraging words.
Gita, Soleil and Ronan reached for a pencil and paper before they even started building. They were able to conserve their materials and divide the work by making sketch first.
Here are some of the things that our students discovered about the best approach to working in a group:
- Make a plan and listen to each other before you get building
- Ask how you can be helpful
- Split up responsibilities
- Snap different ideas together
- Be positive and give encouragement
Next week we will really put these guidelines to the test as we attempt to make two enormous balloons that will have the lifting power to take a stuffed animal into the air!
Inspired by a documentary about the Mongolfier brothers, the band tried to make balloons from paper. Sadie looked to the hexagons and pentagons of a soccer ball for inspiration. The main take away from this challenge was that it is hard to make a balloon from paper.
In Blue Band’s second attempt at building a balloon, the group created polyhedrons. Lily wore a fashionable polyhedron made of pentagons, squares and triangles on her head!
Gita and Tamasen have loved working together this week. They created crown-like shapes that fit together.
One of the Blue Band’s favorite moments this week involved testing parachute designs in the wind tunnel. Transfixed, the group watched their creations swirl in the tunnel.
Ramses cited the wind tunnel as his favorite moment of the week. He tirelessly tested iteration after iteration.
Soleil also loved the wind tunnel but instead of testing several iterations, she spent her time carefully taping together beautiful balloon-inspired curved pieces.
This week and this year, these intrepid learners will be presented with difficult challenges. They will make mistakes and try hard. This article that the Blue Band read is about the neuroscience of learning. The main message is that intelligence is like a muscle: the harder you work the stronger you get. Ronan was so inspired by the article he wrote down quotes in his journal! This year we will be flexing our problem-solving muscles everyday!