Students are taught problem-solving skills from a young age, but for students in Guilford Elementary, putting these skills into practice takes imagination and heart.
(photo of Mrs. Schwanekamp’s class during their first place announcement)
Mrs. Schwanekamp’s 4th grade and Mrs. Bammann’s 5th grade classes took part in “Learning Possible” which, modeled after the Netflix show “Baking Impossible”, asks pairs of students who were assigned two dissimilar careers to construct a solution. This four-week intensive program gave some sample problems like Animal Habitat Loss, Saving the Sea Turtles, An App To Keep You Healthy, or Educational Games for the Blind. Programs like “Learning Possible” show that these students are being given authentic learning opportunities and using the design-thinking process to find creative ways to solve real world problems.
One example is the first-place team from Mrs. Schwanekamp’s class, who were assigned and researched the careers of farmer and mechanic, then put those job skills to use in creating an educational game for the blind. Dressed professionally for their pitches to the judges, they said they felt that they had more confidence.. Their game, ‘Grow’, is a scent-based game that asks the player to use only their sense of smell to determine the herbs provided. They pitched to the judges that the players would want to purchase the “expansion pack” after two months, to make sure that the herbs for the game are as fresh as possible. So clever!
The nationwide contest had 156 student pairs from across the country that brainstormed solutions to these problems and then presented them to Dr. Dacia Jones, founder of Expeditions in Education. After Dacia, or “Dr. Drizzle” as she’s best known, viewed all presentations, she pared the submissions down to 44 finalists.
These pairs then presented to a panel of judges who determined the best submissions country-wide. Students from the two represented classes from PCSC claimed all of the top six slots! Mrs. Bammann’s class received 2nd, 4th, and 5th places, while Mrs. Schwanekamp’s class received 1st, 3rd, and 6th place.