My job as a makerspace teacher is to create learning experiences that apply what my awesome third-grade students are learning in other classes and help them develop collaboration skills and unleash their creativity. I recently had them create cardboard armor, a learning experience designed to meet the students’ needs to work more thoughtfully and to learn to listen to the ideas of others.
There are plenty of examples of cardboard armor on YouTube. I had rejected this idea time and again because these armor builds always end in epic battles—and I didn’t want an epic battle in my classroom. I finally gave in when I realized how much high-level group work a project like this could support. By developing the research and planning, I was able to capitalize on the engagement generated by building suits of armor. And in the end I avoided the epic battle.
My classes are 90 minutes, and this project spanned four classes. Our main areas of learning were informational reading and writing, measurement and unit conversion, group work communication, and character education.