Remember the Segway? Well Segway inventor Dean Kamen has an education program that he has started called FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology).
This program enhances both design and symphony from A Whole New Mind. It also follows Dan Pink’s motivation research from Drive by letting students obtain mastery, providing them autonomy, and giving them purpose.
Students are given a large concept, such as “What types of transportation are used to get products to Austin.” Students then collaborate in teams to design lego prototypes of transportation solutions. It really adds a realistic angle to science. Plus the program is tied into the high school Robotics program which generates interest.
The FIRST program highlighted in the article was funded by a $700 grant and has grown rapidly since its inception. I would think this would be an achievable objective for many elementary teachers.
But even if working directly with FIRST is not an initial possibility, all of our communities have local businesses. Partnerships could be created with these businesses to implement project-based learning in any number of subjects.
I am a big advocate of community-based, hands-on learning. And I think you will be surprised at how eager your community business leaders will be to offer help. It is well worth the effort, and will offer your students skills that are bound to make them successful.Share