Ok, Go.

Ok, Go. I heard this earlier in the year in my school’s Innovation Lab. My iLab partner and I were re-presenting a littleBits© challenge to the 5th graders. How can they make their previous paper ball throwing device better? In other words, can they make that device throw a paper ball further? I opened my mouth to…I don’t know… give them too much adult guidance? Probably. But, I never got the chance. Instead I heard my iLab partner say, “Ok, Go.” And there went excited 5th graders to redo a challenge and make improvements.

What a great idea…OK, Go!
Ok, Go use your creativity.
Ok, Go use what you learned previously playing with the littleBits© pieces.
Ok, Go fail and fix and fail and fix.
Ok, Go collaborate.
Ok, Go have fun!

Now, it can’t be that only in a creativity space that Ok, Go would “work.” What about with a research paper? What about with a personal narrative? What about with designing a science project or just doing a science project? What about with shape pieces in Kindergarten? 

I am not advocating that students just go and do without any guidance. After all we (teachers) are paid to teach. But what if after the foundational lessons on how to do a research project are introduced? Or models of personal narratives are explored? Or previous science projects have been executed? We say, OK, Go. Couldn’t we follow up after with, ‘How did it go?’ Learning to critique ourselves without feeling a sense of failure, maybe that is the objective in an OK, Go pursuit.

So, the 5th graders went. They did revise their previous designs and we watched their practices and their “official” throws, then there was even time to revise again. Again we watched each team. At the end we asked what went right and what would need more revision. While some were disappointed that their device was out thrown. No one was upset about talking about changing their designs a few times. Later in the school year, I was amazed at how the students revised their Rube Goldberg designs frequently to prepare for their 5th grade Design Thinking Convention! 

Originally posted on Wednesday, 31 May 2017

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