With a focus on Captivate this year, there have been many opportunities to put this into action. Dragon Design, an enrichment in Middle School, offers students with a variety of design-based projects that have proven to captivate learners. These projects include 3D printing cookie cutters and mazes, using the vinyl cutter to make laptop stickers and a sewing project where students re-created a book character to share with the Elementary School library. I think what made these projects so successful in engaging students was that for each project, there was a genuine purpose, and in the case of the sewing project, a real, live audience – a Pre-K classroom!
The cookie cutters were soon put to use with students baking one afternoon, the 3D printed mazes were housed in the library as a wellness activity for others to engage with, and the vinyl stickers found homes on the student laptops.
The projects were a success, but what was I found was missing, was an overarching theme that ties the projects together. Essentially a bigger purpose. Nikki Long and I have been teaching this class together for some time now and there has been talking of a Dragon Design 2, given the enthusiasm and interest from students. In planning for this new enrichment, we decided to incorporate a theme, something relevant that would captivate students in a more meaningful way – we selected the environment. We are convinced the projects will continue to captivate our students although we are hoping that Dragon Design 2 will also engage them in an important cause.
The projects we decided on are:
- Precious Plastics – where students will design and create a tote bag, pencil case or lunch bag from old plastic bags. There is lots of scope for students to be creative with this task and there is no shortage of plastic bags to work with. This is a nice introductory project since it will also offer the opportunity to discuss the many concerns around plastic pollution and the impact on the environment.
- Glorious Gardens – in this project students will design, using TinkerCad, a pot to plant a succulent. Together we will build a glorious garden while recognising the impact of rainforest and habitat destruction on planet Earth.
- Puzzling Designs – students will work with an elementary classroom to design a puzzle to raise awareness in a cause associated with the environment. The puzzle will be sewn using felt and presented to the elementary students for there ongoing use.
- Awareness Ornaments – this project will have the students laser cutting their chosen design on their choice of material e.g. wood or acrylic. The ornament will be presented alongside a poster that builds awareness and understanding of a cause or campaign related to the environment.
The presentation below further details these projects and provides examples of the design projects: