One of the resources that I’m using a lot in my new role as a design teacher, is the book called Invent to Learn by Sylvia Libow Martinez and Gary S. Stager. This book details an inquiry type cycle simply called TMI: Think, Make, Improve. This is very accessible language for students and most of the kids who have been in our school are very familiar with this terminology and how to put it into practice.
Here are each of the stages in a little more detail:
I particularly like the “improve” section. Once kids have made something they are challenged to ask themselves are they stuck or are they satisfied? Can I fix it or can I make it better?
Today I was working with Grade 3. Their challenge was to use what they had learned from previous lessons to create a balloon powered vehicle. We talked about TMI and as we talked about the first stage, I sat with the students and modeled how I might document my thinking. Using the Paper 53 app and my iPad Pro with Apple Pencil I was able to think aloud while drawing and projecting on our screen. This was my second time doing this lesson and I didn’t do the same kind of modeling of this documentation process with the first group. We really noticed a difference in quality when the kids were shown how it is possible to plan out their designs.
I get to do this lesson for a third time tomorrow. I want to make sure that we refer back to the image of all the things that “thinking” entails and identify the elements that we touch on so the kids see that there is not just one way of thinking. Edit
How do you help your children to make their thinking visible?
If you are ever in the market for an infographic for kids, go to Pinterest and do a search for “infographics” “kids”. Find one to use was no easy task – there were so many great ones to choose from!
I am a little one-track minded at the moment with the PYP Exhibition about to start at our school. With that in mind, I decided to pick out a few infographics to support the Exhibition – but for different reasons.
1.To showcase what might be going on with our students
The exhibition can be stressful for us as teachers, but also for kids. I liked this infographic because it identifies potential stressors, offers kid-tested solutions for resolving the stress (and reminding teachers to integrate opportunities for things such as movement, music, and time outside during the school day), and it gives parents some tips on supporting their child. It is fairly accessible, graphically, although still contains a lot of text which could be challenging for those without English as a first language.
2. To show how infographics can be created in “real life”:
This is from a Portuguese website in which ‘real life’ photographs are taken and edited to become infographics. I really like this idea of mixing the concrete materials with the data visualisation. This is accessible for kids and a great way for them to showcase statistics that they have gathered over the course of their inquiries.
3. To show how two things can be compared
Many times, the students will end up comparing two different things. I really liked this infographic that uses direct comparison and photography to showcase the data. Again, I think that the ideas in this infographic are ones that could be replicated by our students in order to share their own data. I liked that for this example (owning a cat or a dog) it was an idea that was accessible to the kids at their level while still be sophisticated in design and depth of information shared.
4. To show how to use everyday objects to visualize data
I really like this idea of taking something like Lego or other toys and using them to convey a message. The possibilities for arranging legos and photographing them (or just displaying them during the exhibition) are endless. This is definitely something that I think if you shared this picture with kids, they would very quickly and very easily make up their own designs with the information they have from their research. And they look cool too!
5. To show the key points of Infographic design in an infographic.
This little set wouldn’t be complete if there wasn’t a ‘how to’ infographic! I like this one for the clear and simple way that it outlines the key features of a good infographic and gives a few pointers about fonts and colors. I also like that it references adding the sources from where you got your information. This isn’t perhaps the MOST kid-friendly but I think it does a good job of outlining some of the key points – until you get one of your expert infographic groups to make their own Infographic on Infographics!