Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Problem Solving with SCAMPER

One of the greatest difficulties students face is thinking outside of the box on their own.

Education has so handcuffed students into thinking the way the teacher wants, the book explains, the rubric directs or the directions instruct, that they have become incapable of striking out on their own for fear of being, OH MY GOSH!!! WRONG!!!!

Bob Eberle developed the SCAMPER system in 1982 to assist students in ways to creatively approach problem solving.

SCAMPER is an acronym of options students can call upon in their approach to solving problems by creative means when thinking outside the box and extending the boundaries is a necessary part of the process solution.
S - SUBSTITUE       What other material, process, method could we use instead?
C - COMBINE         What can we add, cluster or put together to change our perspective?
A - ADAPT               What can we change, adjust or do differently to fit the situation?
M - MODIFY           How can we alter or change the form or quality? Can we resize the form?
P - PUT TO USE      What else could this be used for? Where can this be valuable?
E - ELIMINATE      What could we remove or omit to change our perspective?
R - REVERSE          Could we deconstruct the information to understand the process?    

How many of us have witnessed that classroom where every students can follow directions and achieve the desired result? The classroom where 32 paper look exactly the same because each student can follow the designed algorithm and produce the expected end product?

But, can these same students think out side the box, without a rubric, without specified directions, without a known value as an outcome?  Can these students bring something to the table from another classroom, from a life experience or from another source and derive their own outcome?

It is imperative that the process of learning provide students the opportunity to problem solve free from expectation of producing an expected outcome.  To be able to experience the processes of due diligence necessary to produce an outcome, correct or otherwise.  A process that allows students to make mistakes without judgement, but encouragement to search out a better solution.  A learning environment that values that process as a means to an outcome but not the only outcome.

Allow students to SCAMPER.   


Monday, April 02, 2012

Paper Airplanes - Intro to Bernouli

“The airplane stays up because it doesn't have the time to fall.”
                                             -Wright Brothers -

As an introduction to Bernouli's Principle and the concepts of air pressure and currents,
I like to spend a day making paper airplanes with my students.
I found a terrific website by Ryan Farrington  
that has design plans for several variations of paper airplanes. 

provide my students with these plans. My students then must create and decorate four airplanes.  They must make at least two from the designs I provide for them.
(A great excercise in following directions) 
We then trek out to the football stadium and launch our planes trying to get them to land in the zeroes of the 40 and 50 yard line markers on the field.

 Students take notes on the effectiveness of their designs and methods of tossing their planes.
We then head back to the classroom to discuss the physics of flight and the Principles of Bernouli.