Aside

WEEK 2. The information learning activity (ILA).

Context:

I am currently working as a casual teacher so I will be observing another teacher implement the ILA. The teacher is both the teacher-librarian and science specialist at a small NSW primary school and for this project she is working with a combined 4/5/6 class of 20 students. They have decided to enter The Kids Design Challenge and design, build and race a pushcart.

The teacher has this class one full day each week (as part of RFF arrangements) and the project will most likely run for 15weeks. I became aware of the project when I was on the class as a casual teacher and I was very interested in the complex topics they were researching for an upper primary level class.

 

Learning outcomes for the ILA:

The Kids’ Design Challenge (KDC) is the initiative of Technology in Primary Schools (TiPS) network, and the blurb from the website describes the project as “supporting students to work collaboratively as they research needs and issues and devise design ideas and solutions.”

The KDC addresses learning outcomes in Science & Technology at Stage 3:

  • Investigating (Inv 3.7), Design and making (DM 3.8) and Using technology (UT3.9)
  • Physical Phenomena (PP3.4) and Products and service (PS3.5)

The aim is to promote and use design and technological know-how as a means of solving problems related to our world. Designing and making is well integrated with investigating as students explore and clarify ideas and solutions.

  • The challenge involves students in investigating a topical problem or issue and generating real-life solutions.
  • Classes submit their final proposals to the project to receive feedback from industry practitioners and expert teachers.
  • Outstanding achievements of students are celebrated and showcased on the Kids’ Design Challenge web site and at the celebration event for each Challenge.
  • Online communications are used to bring students in touch with each other and with the wider community, providing access to expert advice  from industry professionals.
  • Online support is also available for teachers in implementing activities with their classes. Requirements for design solutions are clearly set out for teachers.”

In addition, the Challenge will provide strong links with the Stage 3 Key Learning Areas of:

  • English: talking & listening, reading and writing factual texts
  • Mathematics: especially in number, measurement and space
  • PDHPE: especially related to nutrition, fitness and endurance, road safety, personal safety, sun safety, social skills, teamwork.

More information about the KDC can be found on the separate blog page “Pushcart Challenge”.

ILA Design:

The KDC has been extensively designed so that teachers can decide to do the project and pick it up and run with it straight away. There is extensive support material available for each stage of the project and it is set out in a series of steps that follow the example below.

STEP 1: Engaging Students – Getting Started

  • Introduce the KDC-NRMA TechnoPush Challenge Scenario and the Design brief
  • Highlight the major features and requirements
  • Build the context – explore leisure activities over time and in different cultures
  • Focus on pushcarts: identify what we already know and what we need to find out
  • Introduce and display the KDC-NRMA TechnoPush Challenge Designspecifications
  • Develop the class/group criteria for success.

Reflection questions:

Students:

  • What is the purpose of the task?
  • What do we need to do to achieve our goal?
  • How did we establish the design criteria for the pushcart?
  • What did we learn?

Teacher:

  • Could students clarify the task?
  • Do they understand the purpose of the task?
  • Do students understand the requirements of the challenge?
By the end of STEP 1 students will have established criteria and requirements for their design of the pushcart.

STEP 2: Investigating phase – Investigating to inform design

STEP 3: The Design Phase – Generating, refining and selecting ideas for the class pushcart

STEP 4: Producing the pushcart and preparing for the Challenge event

STEP 5: Evaluating Phase: evaluating and celebrating design achievements

STEP 6: Showcase your class’ achievements!

Most of my observations for the ILA will occur during steps 4 through to 6.

THE INFORMATION LEARNING ACTIVITY.

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