Have you ever wondered how we can help our children “get smarter” in this 21st century? Tackling real-life problems sharpens one’s thinking for multiple ideas and determining a viable solution. This thinking process fosters creativity and innovation. Our complex world demands thinkers with this mindset in order to solve the multi-faceted global issues we face. Thus, students greatly benefit from schools offering authentic challenges to explore and reiterate solutions. Recently two AIS events provided our students with such experiences.
One opportunity came from our High School Engineering Club’s fundraising function—Inspiration Night. This event showcased students’ technological solutions for real-world challenges. Proceeds from this event went towards funding the club’s projects. Facilitated by the club’s teacher Mr. Eunsup Kang, students designed and prototyped devices to help our world For example, one student team designed an underwater robot to help scientists explore and map out the ocean floor. Another team combined GPS with a remote control air glider to assist stranded hikers. The final team produced a cost-effective air drone which could deliver small parcels within the AIS campus. That night students gave talks about these projects to the AIS community. In addition, the evening incorporated local entrepreneurs telling their stories of inspiration. Indeed the event was a great learning experience for our students and teachers.
A second example came from our elementary school’s participation with the Global Cardboard Challenge. The challenge was for our young learners to build what they imagine out of cardboard. You can read more about the Global Cardboard Challenge at http://imagination.is/our-projects/cardboard-challenge/. Children from early childhood to Grade 5 took part in this event. Through the course of three days, students transformed ordinary cardboard into animals, robots, spaceships, arcade games, houses, and more. The event culminated with a day of exhibition. Our teacher organizers, Eileen Murphy and Angela Evans, felt that seeing children engineer these creations demonstrated powerful student learning. Furthermore the children practiced communicating their creative designs to the adults. Without doubt, our community was united in engaging our young learners in a relevant and meaningful endeavor.
A panacea to increase our children’s intelligence will not happen over night. Practice is essential to cognitive development. We need to provide our children with time to practice real-world problem solving, opportunities to fail, and encouragement to persevere. Attending AIS student exhibitions means we champion student learning that is relevant in this 21st century. Let’s “get smarter” by supporting our students’ tomorrow today.
From AIS Eagle-i