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Teacher pinwheel pair

Bringing Standards to Life: Powering UP

January 9, 2016

"Learning is much more relevant when you create something." - Teacher feedback

"When students are engaged and collaborate, the time flies and they don't realize that they are learning." - Teacher feedback

"This made me want to go back and work on our lesson plans because I'm so motivated. I support this with my whole heart and hope we can make the district more amazing. Thank you!" - Teacher feedback

Educators from across Indian River County participated in an interdisciplinary workshop exploring the connections between humanities and sciences through a Maker Space/STEAM experience. Modeled on Stanford University’s Institute of Design, participants engaged in design thinking to build kinetic scupltures and brainstorm solutions to real world problems. K-12 teachers and administrators explored, experimented and tinkered in a hands on learning process anchored by the text The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind: “The true story of a boy whose great idea and perseverance lit up his home and inspired the world.”


Kurt Wootton is the author of A Reason to Read : Linking Literacy and the Arts; Co-Founder of the Arts Literacy Project at Brown University; and Director of Habla: Center for Language and Culture in Merida, Mexico. He is a leading national 
expert on using multisensory strategies to build literacy.
Debbi Arseneaux is an Education Constultant and Teaching Artist with The Learning Alliance. She has been a teacher in the Washington DC public school district and worked as a professional Theatre Teaching Artist and Director in the DC area for over 15 years.
CHAPTER 1: A Boy's Dream - A Humanities Experience

Students build background knowledge and share short stories about themselves, exploring the ideas and themes of the story. 

BUILDING COMMUNITY: Microstorytelling
ENTERING TEXT: ACTivating Vocabulary

Putting vocabulary and concepts in our bodies helps students remember the meaning and application of ideas. 

Students play the role of a reporter and identify the key details necessary to support the main idea presented in the form of real life headlines about William and his windmill. 

Students create an original poem from the point of view of the sculpture they built, exploring the essential question: how can energy create motion and change?

CHAPTER 2: Electrifying A Nation - A Sciences Experience

Students wrestle with how to make a pinwheel, how to make it better, and questions about how it captures energy. This kind of hands on experimentation develops a sense of wonder and inquiry in science. 

"Hack a banana, make a keyboard!"

Be inspired by this video about unlocking the power of creative and innovative thinking. 

CHAPTER 3: A Young Tinkerer - A Maker Space

Teachers work in groups, as would their students, to design and build a kinetic sculpture. The challenge: make it move, make it sturdy, and make it beautiful.

After buidling their sculptures and testing them with fans, students brainstorm what they might do with the energy they had harnessed. How might their energy create motion or change in their world? They write original poems from the perspective of their sculptures, then perform lines from their work, interwoven with lines from the text in a final powerful performance.

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