A pinnacle part of being an inventor is actually creating your invention. In these past few weeks, our Year 1 Creators and Inventors had the opportunity to spend time in the Junior School Maker Space bringing their inventions to life. This comes after spending the term investigating how imagination and creativity can inspire invention.
Students came to the maker space having spent time thinking about what inspires them, what they would like to invent, and why their invention was important. They wrote out their ideas, came with a blueprint and were ready to go. The ideas that came from these young inventors were quite clever: one wanted to make a plane that he could actually fly, another wanted to make a bed for her cat because he didn’t have one, and one wanted to make a ‘proper’ kitchen for her doll house because hers does not have a ‘proper’ kitchen.
These inventors came ready to go. They were soon gathering materials and were busily cutting, gluing, pounding and sawing away creating their inventions. They were discovering when it was best to use glue or tape, when to use a nail versus a screw, and how difficult it really can be to drive in a nail or saw a piece of wood. They were learning about teamwork, finding it was sometimes easier to tape something together if a friend helped you hold it in place. With many items to be sawed and nailed together and only a few tools, the inventors were also learning about sharing and patience.
When it was time to clean up, there was a collective groan from the class. They wanted to continue, to keep on inventing, perfecting and adding to. At the end of the class, Mr Calvert asked them to quietly reflect on their process: What was I making? So far I’ve made ______. Then he asked them really stretch their thinking. Asking them to improve on their inventions. Next week I’m going to ______.
This process of imagining, creating, reflecting, sharing is such an important part of creative learning. In his book Lifelong Kindergarten, author Mitchel Resnick (@mres), who also is a co-founder of Scratch, describes this process as the Creative Learning Spiral. He calls it the “engine of creative thinking” (p. 12). These young inventors were “learning through making” (p. 36). They were not only learning how to use tools, and put things together to make something, they were learning how to plan, how to communicate, how to work together, how to problem solve. And the list can go on.
I’m proud of what not only these Year 1’s have created, but what they have learned in the process of creating. And I’m equally proud of their teachers, Mr Calvert, Ms Chapman, Mrs Page-Wood, and Mrs Scoones for helping these students become young creators and inventors.
Resnick, M., & Robinson, K. (2017). Lifelong kindergarten : Cultivating creativity through projects, passion, peers, and play. Cambridge, Massachusetts: The MIT Press.