Three pipe cleaners. 10 minutes. What could you invent?
This was the first task given to the 4th and 5th grade campers at TAG camp last week. They had all signed up for “Invention Convention”–a class designed for students to think outside of the box individually and collaboratively to build and later present inventions created with recycled material.
So what was invented under this amount of time using only a limited amount of materials? Sophia created a wand–but not just any old wand. This special instrument made things grow. Anything you wanted. Connor created a worm with the three pipe cleaners–a worm that moved at any pace you told it to, but most importantly, a worm that travelled around and made people smile. Happiness was the most important factor that Connor considered when creating his invention. Quinton created a collapsible laundry basket with a flinger attached to it so that all you had to do was put your dirty clothes on the ground and the tool could fling it into the basket. The basket expanded when needing more room to fit the dirty clothes in, and collapsing when it became full and needed to be taken to the laundry room. These inventions astounded me. What one can do with their imagination was truly inspiring to me. But the most special part was not the individualistic part of creating their own invention–but rather the collective part of the task when they were allowed to share their inventions with their peers. They found out that Sophia’s magic wand could make Connor’s worm grow bigger–allowing the worm to then make more people happy at any given time. The student’s ability to work harmoniously as a group to improve each other’s inventions was really amazing to me.
Caren Graham, the instructor of the class excitedly reported when asked about the initial pipe cleaner activity that she “likes how you take an idea and expand on it in truly inventive ways. You have been original and have had a variety of unique invention possibilities.”
Though this class’s purpose was not to necessarily benefit me, I learned a lot. As an intern of Saturday Academy–I have been exposed to a range of hands-on learning techniques that have forced me to perceive the world no longer through the lenses of black and white and rigidness. There is so much gray matter in between all of the finite pieces in our world. This class allowed me to go out into the environment and be mindful of all of the inventions around me, how they have altered our society in one way or the other, and how teams of diverse individuals have gathered to create such beautiful advancements. Three pipe cleaners transformed my prior simplistic mentality. These kiddos are truly inspiring to me.