Learning: Bubble Wrap Contest

My AVID students and I spent three weeks working with bubble wrap.  It was a great experience and one that I will continue to do with my 6th graders in the future.

I had just a few students who actually entered the competition but just about everyone created a project and did all the assignments that went with it.  Here's a link a to the competition, click here.

Below is a rough sketch of what we did:

Day 1: I wrapped my door and all my tables in bubble wrap.  The whole goal was to get them to start thinking of bubble wrap and to get the popping out of their system.  Both goals were accomplished.

Days 2-5: Guided and Independent research.  As a whole group, we went through the contest page.  Then, using Moodle, I posted links for guided research and posted an independent research assignment. In the forum, they had to post 5 pieces of new learning from guided research and 5 pieces of new learning from their independent research.  I was blown away by what some students found and the ideas that they had.

Week 2: Creation.  I started this week by showing them my creation: a bubble wrap quarter holder for each of state quarters.  [After about a week, the quarters started stretching the plastic.  Not a quality invention.  But no one took any of my quarters.] 

Each student was given a 2 foot by 2 foot square of bubble wrap.  They could work with up to 2 partners.  One important direction to tell them is that they shouldn't pop the bubble wrap. They can't unpop the bubbles if they decide that the bubbles are important.  Four days was enough for creation.  On the 5th day, I had a few people share.

Week 3: Writing and Submitting.  Using Moodle each student had to write a paragraph describing their invention in detail.  They also had to create a sketch of their invention.  Both of these were requirements of the competition.  Lastly, I had them take a Photobooth picture to accompany their writing and sketches.  This should have been 2 days.  Four days was too long.  Next time, I spend two days on writing and sketches and 2-3 days on presenting.

Overall, it was a great lesson in research, creativity, collaboration, writing, reading, and inquiry and it had real world authenticity to it.