Failure is a big part of Cheryl Gregoire’s STEM-tastic class at SCATS — and that’s by design.
Campers in STEM-tastic have been presented with a variety of challenges throughout camp. For each, they are given criteria (what a design must do to be considered successful), constraints (limitations on the design), and little else. Working alone or with others as they choose, the campers must develop, test, and refine their ideas. Their teacher is on hand to provide careful prompting and resource materials, but she is careful not to guide too much. The students learn through trial and error (sometimes a lot of error) and then talk through what went wrong and share ideas for improvement.
At the end of each challenge, Cheryl leads campers through a reflection on their projects. They consider the materials they used and the building techniques they tried. Maybe a little more of this, or a little less of that, and the design would have been perfect! All take careful notes because if nothing else, they’ve learned a new day will bring a new challenge!