USA Team 4659, The Bacon Bricks, is an all-girl team from Oregon made up of students in grades 5 through 7. We wanted to share their story as a sample of the different ways to approach a Project.
1. Our team first looked at how we might be able to research how to improve the way students learn about global climate change. After brainstorming ideas, our team decided that this was way to big of an idea for us to do. So, we decided to narrow our topic. One of the things that our team decided was that we all liked to do hands-on science and math projects – especially LEGO® robotics (last year our team was a State Championship Rookie Team in Oregon; this year we have three second-year experienced members and 6 first-year members on our team). After we decided we all liked math and doing projects out side, we wanted to find a way to do a hands-on Project outside at the YMCA where our team meets. We searched around for ideas about STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) and hands-on projects. Then we learned about the Journey North tulip study program. We talked about this, and after voting, decided to participate with this fall’s Journey North tulip program. We thought maybe be could improve the way students like us learn about gardening. As we started our Project, we kept thinking of ways we could maybe also improve the way students learn about math, too.
2. Next, we came up with ideas about how we could maybe teach math and science ideas to students like ourselves using our garden. After brainstorming more ideas, we decided that maybe we could create some sort of easy to make Cartesian coordinate system that would help us keep track of where each of us planted our tulips in our garden.
3. Then we thought more about the Project question and decided that we wanted to improve the way students learned about the Cartesian coordinate system.
4. Next, we researched the history of the Cartesian coordinate system. We also contacted a lot of different environmental scientists and teachers to find out more about how they have used and taught students like us about the Cartesian coordinate system. From our research, we discovered that none of them had ever heard of or used a coordinate system the way we were using ours. From the experts that we talked to, we learned that they thought our Project was really unique! They also thought it was creative and one that will make a valuable contribution toward educating kids and classrooms around the world about the Cartesian coordinate system. They also thought it was was great that we were thinking of ways to educate other kids – this is what we were told by the director of the Journey North program when we interviewed her for our project.
5. We constructed our official Journey North garden at the YMCA where our team meets. We used heavy-duty string and staples to make our coordinate grid. It cost us about $10 (USD) to make our grid system.
6. Next, we planted our tulip bulbs back at the beginning of October. We planted them to exacting scientific protocol that all schools participating with the program have to follow.
7. Finally, we have begun sharing with students and teachers in other classrooms at our school about our research project. It has been great to teach little kids about what Cartesian coordinates are and how we used them to make our research garden easier for students to learn about it.
8. Because of our Journey North tulip project, we have shared and communicated about our Project and innovative solution with classrooms all over the United States and the world. We have shared with schools in England, France, Germany, and even Russia (we are now helping our buddy school in Zelenograd, Russia, develop a coordinate grid system to use in their garden). We think this is what it means to “Think globally and act locally.”
We were told by the Journey North people that as of two weeks ago, our Project information on the Journey North website has been viewed by more than 50,000 thousand people all over North America and the world, which we think is awesome because it shares our innovative ideas with other kids like us.
We think our Project is one that makes hands-on learning more fun for kids, and is way better than just doing math work sheets and computer games to learn about the Cartesian coordinate system. Our Project makes it possible for kids to use an “outdoor classroom” for learning about real life science and math.
Whether you are presenting your Project at a tournament already or gearing up for an event in 2015, we thought you might enjoy hearing one team’s approach.
What was your Project question and how did you answer it? Are you still in the planning stages?
If you have an innovative solution you think will really stand out this season, be sure to enter your team’s idea for consideration in the FLL Global Innovation Award presented by XPRIZE. Submissions are open now and will be accepted though February 10, 2015, 2:00 pm ET (1400hrs).