As some of you may know (probably not unless you know me personally or have bothered to read my About page) I’m currently studying for a Masters degree in Educational Science. Part of that degree is doing a 3-month long internship/workplacement. I’m doing mine in a secondary school somewhere here in The Netherlands. One of my tasks is doing a study on the skills that the children in the 7th grade should have achieved. Is that good English? Probably not. Don’t judge me, I’m tired.
Anyway, what I’m supposed to do is find some way to see if the children from 3 different classes have all mastered the skills the school says they should have around this time. These skills are: Team work, working independently, organising, solving problems and presenting. The school wants me to research this because the school had recently implemented two separate courses within the secondary school. So, they have the Beta-course, which focusses on things like maths, science, physics and doing projects that have combine these classes and they have also started an Art-course in which the kids focus especially on the art related classes. Obviously two very different kind of kids who would enrol in those kinds of courses but they still have to learn the same set of skills. Therefore, it’s up to me to figure out which course achieves better etc.
What I did was, in each of the classes I divided the students into 4 groups. Then, I gave then a packet of cookies, skewers, tape and rope and gave them the assignment to built a tower. You’d think that they’re a little old for projects like that but that wasn’t the case at all. In fact, they could barely stop themselves from starting to built right away.
It was lovely to see them work. It’s was really very interesting to see how they set out to do their task and which students cooperated and which didn’t do anything at all. but, most of all, it was great to see what they would come up with. The cookies would break, of course, so they had to come up with an alternative plan. This is one of the end results:
The building part of the project was cool. They were busy and most of them were working on this project seriously. But, as expected when working with adolescents, not all of them were participating as actively as they should been. In the end, they had to hold a presentation on what they did, what went wrong etc. A lot of them said that their contribution mostly had been: eating cookies. Yea.. that wasn’t the plan.
Oh well, that was to be expected. They are teenagers after all. I think that the results shall be.. interesting.