Krebs' Class Blogs

Constructing, creating, communicating, collaborating, and thinking critically in grade 5.

Rigorous and Relevant: Geniuses at Work

| 6 Comments

This year, the teachers at our school will be studying Rigor and Relevance in professional development.

I love my students for many reasons–one is that they are problem solvers and they notice real problems that need real solutions.

This week, the first week of school, a few eighth graders saw two problems and worked to fix them. We have a ten foot long and four-inch wide PVC pipe that has been capped and sawed in half lengthwise to make a trough. When we fill the rounded pipe with water to test boats, it’s unstable. We had quite a spill in our classroom on Wednesday. Then when we wanted to remove the water that had not spilled, we had to bail the water out and into a bucket.

Geniuses know how to criticize by creating. And I have those geniuses in my classroom! First, Thomas and Dustin began designing a stand to get it up off the floor and less wobbly. After some discussion with a larger group, Joey is working on a revised design at home. (Update on Monday.)

On Friday morning before school there were eleven people watching the hoopla and contributing to the process of the next step, which was to solve the second problem–emptying the trough. They decided to create a drainage system so when we put water into the soon-to-be sturdy container, we will be able to drain it instead of bail it out.

Look at that hole they are drilling in our trough. Yes, they are risking failure. The problem is challenging, complex, demanding, requires authentic work and “the ability to develop and express ideas and findings through elaborated communication.” (rigor and relevance). (I haven’t done a thing except give them permission because the project is beyond my abilities.)

What kind of learning is better than that? That’s why I’m trying to make school more like genius hour. Real problems, real solutions, real learning.

Author: Denise Krebs

I'm the chief learner in life's adventure.

6 Comments

  1. Denise,
    I love it – “Real problems. Real solutions. Real learning.” Ahhhh… My dream!

  2. Denise,
    How wonderful that your students were able to figure out what to do. True genius hour at work and it wasn’t even Genius Hour, but that’s why it’s genius. Is that called reasoning in a circle:)

    • I love your genius reasoning, Kris! So true. I loved that it was a real problem that they discovered and solved. So proud of them!

      Denise

  3. Denise,
    You are so lucky to be able to have your kids learn in such a meaningful way. I only see my middle school students for forty-five minutes a day, not a whole lot of time to do much. You continue to inspire me my friend.
    JoAnn

    • JoAnn,
      I am lucky! I love my assignment, and I get to see the students for multiple periods each day. This project all happened in our last “class” of the day, which is actually homeroom. They were solving engineering problems instead of reading or doing homework.

      Thanks,
      Denise

Leave a Reply

Required fields are marked *.


Skip to toolbar