I am always amazed by the creativity of children, their thought processes and where they can take their ideas. In the last holidays I ran a STEAM workshop and met a wonderful 9 year old girl. She had become withdrawn and quiet and was not engaging in class time and her Mum was worried. She hoped the workshop would inspire her and spark her interest in learning. We were working from our Exploring Circuits kit learning about circuits and we got talking about school. It turns out she is in an MLE and was finding the noise level and the competition to be heard on the mat difficult. So she had stopped putting her hand up. We talked through options to solve the problem and she decided that if only those children who had their hand up and were quiet were chosen she would feel happier. This resulted in the development of the Idea Glove.
Imagine the steps and learning that went into the idea glove.
1. She had never sewn before.
2. She had never made a circuit before.
3. Hand/eye co-ordination, design creation, problem solving, critical assessment, perseverance, learning from failure
4. She had to work with a limited range of materials
5. She needed to understand the basics of electronics and e-textiles.
6. She needed to plan her circuits to prevent short circuits.
7. She needed to engineer an on/off switch.
8. She needed to design a glove that was not permanently on.
9. She needed something that would get attention but not be annoying to others.
The steps involved and the prototyping were complicated and involved but she was so engaged and committed to the project that she amazed me at every step. Her glove was amazing and she decided that it had other purposes. It was great as:
1. A close reading aid to follow the words for younger children
2. Tracing letters in the air
3. A disco glove
4. And it's original purpose - only those children that are quiet with their gloves on, lights on get chosen.
This project was a wonderful example of how child led, hands on STEAM projects empower and excite children to use their knowledge to create something amazing. To take their knowledge and solve real world problems while gaining new skills and a bucket load of confidence along the way.
The instructions for the idea glove are now included in the Exploring Circuits kit.