Offering Opportunities for Creativity

A few weeks ago, my son showed me his latest Lego creation. He built a ship. Through the course of a few days, his ship went through modifications. In the end, he built what is pictured above. As he described his work to me, I began to understand the complexity of thinking that went into his design, modification, and decision-making. I am still impressed.

This ship models an older, non-modernized ship. Weapons had been in the original build but were removed to make it more authentic to the time period (his words, not mine). Because ships are ocean-dwelling, blue Legos appear to represent the water. The sun is in the background simply for the beauty. My son is 10-years-old.

Did I write this post to brag? No. I am writing this because there is something to be learned. My child spent hours on this self-directed project. He enjoyed all of it and was excited to share his work with me. I want my students to feel the same way!

Back to the classroom – We just finished our biome projects in Biology class. This project offers some opportunity for creativity and building. Completion of the project includes construction of a home in a chosen country based on native or traditional home models. These are homes that would have been built when the only resources available were those natural to the area. There are many other elements to this project, but the 3-D home always becomes the focal point for the students.

Of the 100 points possible, only 10 points pertain directly to the constructed home. Yet, this is the portion students seem most proud of and most willing to spend time on outside of class. Of course they grouse about it, but when they show up to present their homes most students are clearly proud of their work. In light of my son’s ship, I wonder if it is the opportunity to be creative, the physical building of the model, or the control over the decision-making that they enjoy most.

Throughout the year, I offer other projects with a creativity component. The biome project, though, is the biggest build for biology. How do you spark creativity in your classroom? Do you have any building projects to share? I’m thinking of buying some Legos for my classroom 🙂 Let’s start a conversation!

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