Reflection: Perseverance Students Create Rube Goldberg Contraptions - Section 3: Students Construct, Test, and Redesign Their Contraptions


Maybe it's my age or the number of years that I've spent in the classroom, but the presence of tasks promoting perseverance in my classes are the ones that students love the most. The challenge then is balancing rigor and student-centered environments with the development of characteristics that will produce problem-solving citizens.  

As sixth graders, many of my students - and your's too - have probably never engineered many items, so the expectations for output is important, but not nearly as important as boosting confidence. If students are confident than they are more likely to try harder, resulting in better performance in school.  

If this confidence and perseverance persists, students are more likely to have the necessary skills to be successful in many different fields, many of which haven't yet been developed. Building perseverance comes down to many factors, but in our classes we can encourage risk taking by having kids work in groups and emphasizing the time students spend reflecting and refining their thoughts.

As you plan lessons for your classes, ask yourself if you are planning time for reflection and refinement. If not, try setting aside time for students to perform these tasks in class or rethink your homework assignments. If you're assigning homework for the sake of giving it, then maybe you could instead ask students to reflect on their designs and experiences and think about how they persevered to overcome obstacles. These factors, when performed over many years, may build student confidence and their ability to persevere.  

  Encouraging Perseverance and Growth Mindset
  Perseverance: Encouraging Perseverance and Growth Mindset
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Students Create Rube Goldberg Contraptions

Unit 5: Engineering
Lesson 11 of 11

Objective: SWBAT: Build an actual Rube Goldberg contraption that demonstrates their understanding of energy transformations.

Big Idea: Now that students have tested roller coasters and investigated with several simulations about energy, it is time for them to actually build a Rube Goldberg contraption!

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