Teacher Experience: “Backpack Designer” Task for 6th-7th Grade Students
A Defined STEM Learning Experience From:
6th/7th Grade, All Subjects Teacher
Mountain Valley Academy (CA)
Here’s What We Did:
To start, I had students reflect on what their backpacks were like and what qualities it had; from the straps, to the zippers, to color, shape, and size. After watching the videos and taking notes on the research provided by Defined STEM on their 1:1 Chromebooks, they were eager to dive into creating designs of their own. I challenged them by thinking outside the box of what they know as a typical backpack and to design one that would best fit their needs. Though the project was done individually, students were collaborating with each other about designs and materials like they were working in a design studio! They also celebrated their different designs, ideas and creativity. Students wished to bring their design to life using actual materials – maybe next time!
Why Defined STEM Was the Perfect Fit:
Students love working independently on their Chromebooks as they did research for their project. By easily creating a student page for the task, they were able to only see what I wanted them to see, so there was no distraction during the research time. Because they were able to work independently and use technology, they were very motivated.
Every product was unique and we had a lot of ‘aha’ moments as each student presented his or her backpack design. In addition, they wanted to actually make their backpacks, but we ran out of time for that particular activity. If I were to do it again, I would schedule more time for them to complete the task. It would be great to see a finished hand held product and to discuss the possibility to sell their wares at a student focused art/design fair.