Essential question: What is the link between “tinkering”, “hard play”, and the “growth mindset”?
The connection I made this week with tinkering, hard play (hard work) and growth mindset is:
Tinkering + Hard Play (Hard Work) = Growth Mindset
In the TED video The Power of Believing That You Can Improve, Professor Carol Dweck spoke on many important aspects about growth mindset. Dweck stated (2014), We should praise the process students are engaged in and praise the hard work and persistence. As I was watching Dweck’s TED talk I was thinking: So how do you teach growth mindset? And how do you help create growth mindset students? Much of what I found about “teaching” growth mindset sounds vaguely familiar to differentiated instruction (DI). Ideas like using intentional praise, formative feedback, and self-reflection are the same ideas I read about in a prior course while learning about DI. Creating a classroom environment where students feel safe to take chances. Learning that there is more than one way to solve a problem can also encourage growth mindset. According to Martinez & Stager (2013), “When we acknowledge that there may be many right answers to a question, it gives children permission to feel safe while thinking and problem solving… When we honor different kinds of learning styles it becomes acceptable to solve problems without fear.”
As I was reading about engineering in chapter two of Invent To Learn: Making, Tinkering, and Engineering in the Classroom (Martinez & Stager 2013). I was reminded of the Engineering is Elementary (EiE) kits my school district has for teachers to check out for classroom use. EiE has some wonderful science kits that teach the engineering process:
EiE encourages students to take chances and if something fails to figure out what went wrong, fix it and make it better. EiE has a designing bridges unit. In the unit the students investigate different ways to build a bridge with columns and arches and how much weight bridges can hold. In the end the students are tasked with creating a bridge that can hold the most weight and stand up to a toy car being driven across it. The unit is started with showing students a video clip of the Seattle/Tacoma Bridge in 1940 during a 40 mile per hour windstorm. In the video the bridge sways and finally breaks, luckily no one is injured. It’s a great opening video to discuss that mistakes happen and things go wrong. However, just because engineers created a bridge that failed doesn’t mean they gave up. They figured out what was wrong, fixed it and now there is a bridge in Seattle that can withstand 40 mph wind.
Engineering is Elementary. Retrieved May 26, 2015, from http://www.eie.org/
Friedman, J. (2014, December, 6). Tacoma narrows bridge collapse. [Video]. Retrieved May 26, 2015, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nkXl8JJBH7E
Heggart, K. (2015, February, 3). Developing a growth mindset in teachers and staff. Retrieved May 26, 2015, from http://www.edutopia.org/discussion/developing-growth mindset-teachers-and-staff
Martinez, S., & Stager, G. (2013). Invent to learn: Making, tinkering, and engineering in the classroom. Constructing Modern Knowledge Press.
Stuart, D. (2014, July, 24). For noncognitive skill development, start with growth mindset -Here’s how. Retrieved May 27, 2015, from http://www.teachingthecore.com/noncognitive-skill-development-growth-mindset/
TED Conferences, LLC. (2014). The power of believing that you can improve. Retrieved May 27, 2015, from http://www.ted.com/talks/carol_dweck_the_power_of_believing_that_you_can_improve?language=en