Reflection: Routines and Procedures Engineering the Best Balloon Jouster! - Section 4: Battle Bracket and Challenging Their Peers


"We're going to do what?!" exclaimed 90% of my students upon hearing that they would be creating balloon jousters and battling their friends. This was my first rodeo with this lesson and overall it went very well, but there were some pitfalls that impeded on the learning process.  

One obstacle that I faced involved the time it took for kids to launch their jouster for each battle. I originally had students inflate their balloon and thread the string through a new straw each time they battled. This took entirely too long, which also meant that there was more down time for kids to turn their positive enthusiasm into unstructured, noisy transitional time. I don't do noisy transitions. Plus, it was the end of the year, so you can imagine the level of excitement in the room.  

Realizing that the only way to avoid this was to streamline the process, I had students inflate their balloon and place their skewer on before they came up to test. We left the straw on the string, so all they had to do was tape the balloon to the string, not thread it through (learn from my mistakes!), and battle. This resulted in expeditious battling and less down time between each test. Your students will be excited for this activity regardless of the time of year, so follow these steps for a more productive learning activity.

  Managing Excitement and Learning
  Routines and Procedures: Managing Excitement and Learning
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Engineering the Best Balloon Jouster!

Unit 5: Engineering
Lesson 9 of 11

Objective: SWBAT: Design, build, test and redesign the best balloon jouster, based on evidence collected during class.

Big Idea: Students love engineering! Our role is to develop a learning environment that promotes a growth mindset and perseverance.

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