Students are asked to sit at their seats to hear the instructions for building and creating their new tool or machine.
When students are sitting, I grab their attention by telling them it is time to build. Students have been waiting for this so they will be ready to listen with excitement.
I let students know that they will have a full hour of time to use the materials in their boxes to create their new tool.
I also explain to students the importance of listening to each others ideas and being respectful to one another while working as a team. I explain that if they run in to a problem, they should try to work together to solve it and if they are still having trouble, then they should come to me and ask for help or clarification.
I say "GO!" and they are off to building.
During the hour of building time, I will be available, walking around and helping groups with anything they may need.
I try to stay back and let them work as much on their own as possible. This is a great opportunity to allow students to take on their own roles and for the teacher to get a very good opportunity to observe group work.
It is important to allow students, even kindergarteners, the ability to try and work out their own problems and overcome them on their own. Independence is learned through this activity.
At the end of the 60 minutes, I ask students to start wrapping things up and putting finishing touches on their tools and cleaning up materials and putting them away.
When I see that the groups are cleaned up and finished, I have the students present their tool to the class.
Students come up to the front of the room with their new invention and present it to the class.
I instruct the students to explain to the class three things:
1) What does the invention do? What problem does it solve? What job does it make easier?
2) What materials from the box were used?
3) What are the parts and the functions of the parts?
Each group will present their projects and then the inventions will go in the front lobby of the school to display for families.
At the end of the project, I saw everything from very simple tools to more complex tools. It was fun to watch think of things that they thought were important enough to build a problem solving tool for.