Day 01 Smarter Energy (Middle School)

We started off our first day of innovation academy at IBM. It was absolutely spectacular! Julie Andrew, a master teacher from CU teach, kicked off the day with engaging chemistry experiments. We moved into the classroom to get to know each other and we started out with a game of charades. The students were put into groups and given a ‘trait of innovation’ to act out. The traits include: thinking, creativity, persistence, cooperation, risk-tasking, and curiosity. One group of boys had to act out the word, persistence, so they army crawled on the classroom floor to reach their lunch boxes. The whole class was roaring in laughter. After that we discussed the mind sets of being an innovator, for example ‘showing not telling’ and ;bias toward action’. We had an IBM volunteer help the students, his name is Brandon Little.

Around 10:30 am, we took a break outside and I watched as the students run carelessly through the field. The last part of the day was focused on our design challenge. The challenge was to design a working model of an amusement park ride. We went through the design process, step by step to figure out a solution. I uploaded a power point, it is the same design challenge as smarter cities. The students created amazing protoypes, for example, Sophia and Ethan created a roller coaster, water-ride that had a conveyer belt that was built out of toothpicks and elastic bands. As they created their protoype, we paused every 10 minutes to reflect and give feedback to one another. The students listened to each other and were able to make effective improvements. Another group built their roller coaster using the support of the table as a guide.

This allowed for the potential energy to be much larger than if they started only inches from the ground. We wrapped up the day by showing off our final protoypes and critiquing eachothers. There was so much positive ‘energy’ (no pun intended) in the room and the students were using their minds in creative and innovative ways. I was able to see friendships forming that might have never been possible before innovation academy. I am so enthused to spend the next 2 weeks with your daughter/son.