Tuesday, March 18, 2014

When "failure" is a good thing

Giving students experience with "failure" is a crucial piece of creating a culture of innovation.  As Thomas Edison said, "I have not failed 10,000 times. I have successfully found 10,000 ways that will not work."  The Power of Failing in the Atlantic, tells the story in corporate terms; why failure is the driving force behind genius. 

Now translate the concept into teaching 5 and 6-year-olds.  In K-1 science class, students explored force and motion. The way the learning situation was designed supported students' natural drive to learn. It sparked innovation. Failing in the traditional sense did not enter in, but failing in the sense of persevering to succeed offered great reward. 

Here is a full description of the science activity from K-1 teacher, Liliana DeGiorgio's blog:

This week students concluded their exploration of force and motion. The children worked diligently on making predictions, designing, and constructing a Marble Escape Course Design. During this study the children were mainly challenged to determine what changes a ball's motion.  Kate Perry, our science teacher, explains: "The children performed lots of experimentation with pushes, pulls, drops, bounces, ramps, sizes, and shapes.  The K-1's hypothesized, tested and analyzed their results for how surface materials, applied forces, height, ramp angles, curved paths and surface texture make a difference with how a ball moves. Collaborating in small groups to construct a 6' path for their marble, the K-1's eagerly applied appropriate skills, learning, and force and motion concepts to help their marble make it through."

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