When I heard about the Global Cardboard Challenge, I absolutely had to get my school involved! I felt that this activity would be a wonderful way to get my feet wet with my classes in the makerspace ocean. The idea is simple but the possibilities are endless–students take recyclable materials (mainly cardboard) and build something from their imagination. It was a low-cost event that was easy to plan and execute.
I decided to make this a pre-holiday-break event, and about a month before, I began to reach out to the entire school community with a simple flyer and urged students and staff alike to donate cardboard, plastic bottles, egg cartons, tape, glue, etc. The materials came streaming in and it was amazing to see just how much accumulated in the library media center in the weeks before the Cardboard Challenge. Everyone from my third graders all the way up to my sixth graders are enjoying sketching out their designs and slowly bringing their creations to life. As one fifth grade student put it: “The library class is so much fun! I have never done anything like this before!” It is amazing seeing my students tap into their imagination and take ownership of the lesson and their learning. Watching them testing out different techniques and discussing plans while building is absolutely wonderful.
I have never taken on such a massive makerspace activity, but this will certainly not be the last time! I urge all of my fellow educators to try this and other makerspace events out. Let your students take the reins in their own education; you will not be disappointed.
Any child who was read to as a baby has most likely come across “board books,” which are the thick, cardboard-paged books that are durable enough in the hands of a toddler who is teething. We all know board books; they are usually very basic in content–focusing on shapes or colors–a subject matter that is understood by its very, very young readers.
But that is all changing. Publishers are now creating board books that feature classics of literature, such as Moby Dick and Sense and Sensibility. The first question that would probably come to mind is: “why is this being done?” or “how can a toddler benefit from a canonical piece of literature?” Well, the argument is that babies most definitely will not comprehend the struggle between fisherman and whale, but they will process the ship and the ocean’s waves. The entire mental process behind this idea is rather similar to the idea of playing classical music to your children (or even while pregnant). As the baby’s mind is shaping and forming, exposing them to these great pieces of work can further along their growth and development.
From my own personal stance, I am not quite sure if these classic literature board books will do anything to support that argument, but I still don’t have anything personally against them. However, some people may strongly take offense to turning wonderfully written, iconic pieces of literature (that have lasted through years and years) into board books that will most likely be physically chewed and sucked on by babies.
It begs the question: what would Herman Melville and Jane Austen have to say about this?