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Thursday, March 30, 2017

4th Grade Think Different Design Challenge




Hello. This is my first blog post as Ms. Higgison’s student teacher. My name is Ouda Baxter (Ms. Ouda to the students) and I am currently in the Masters in Art Teaching Program at Maine College of Art. I am very excited to be here, and through the end of April.


In early March I presented a Design Challenge Project to 4th graders utilizing a Mystery Bag, and the idea of Transformation as well as Envisioning play a prominent part in this project. The goal was to envision, to stretch and explore and meet the Design Challenge using a limited number of materials and with a time constraint as well. Questions we asked to get our minds going are: What is a design challenge?  How can artists meet design challenges? Why do artists give themselves design challenges? And What makes a sculpture different from a 3D object?

We discussed the difference between a mass produced factory made dinosaur toy (3D object) and a ceramic handmade sculpture (one of a kind). We also talked about staplers and looked at a couple different models as we thought about the Design Challenges faced by the stapler designers; how easy was it to use, how appealing did it look, was it comfortable to use, how many pages could it staple.
We identified the Problem ( using the objects in each Mystery Bag to create something) . We then set about brainstorming potential creative solutions, with the project being very open ended so that there were literally millions of solutions. My intention with this project is to actively practice stretching concepts, getting young artists to Think Differently, and allowing students to meet the Design Challenge each in his or her own way. The parameters were: One paper bag (optional), 3 long straws, 2 short straws, 1 piece of paper, 1 small paper plate, and 3 pieces of tape, and each student had to Title their project, just as almost every art piece, whether it be a drawing, painting, sculpture, or photograph, has a title. One of the students commented: “I learned how much you can build with 3 pieces of tape!” and another, “I learned how creative I could be.”


The project outcomes were VERY diverse and imaginative. I can see that the students really did that, and some of them really ran with it. The slideshow below, is evidence of how engaged students were and how students thought differently and let their imaginations run wild. The skills practiced in this project are ones that the Y.E.S. Share Team teachers ( Ms. Pachuta, Mrs. Clark, Mrs. Spellman, Mrs. Troy and Mrs. Higgison) are all focusing on this year; Positive Thinking, Patience, Practice and Perseverance.

The slideshow has examples of finished work as well as work in progress.

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