Too often we give children answers to remember rather than problems to solve. – Roger Lewin
So, Blokify has turned out to be quite the hit in our room. I wrote about using the app last time. It has been amazing what has transpired in just one week! We Skyped with Jennifer at Blokify last Friday. The kids wrote out their questions ahead of time for her. They had very thoughtful questions and she spoke to them in a way they understood. She was printing out one of the structures in her office on the 3D printer and she sent us a couple of samples.
These arrived in the mail today at school and you would have thought it was Christmas with all of the excitement. The kids made observations on the objects. One is heavier, one is with color blocks, and one has more details on it. They speculated about what the material looked like before the objects were printed and some even drew sketches of the objects on their Drawing Pad app so they could use them in writing. In the math center, some took wooden unit blocks and tried to re-create the structures.
One of the best things that has happened as a result of using this app is the collaboration between the kids working together to problem solve to build the structures in the app. One student grabbed some drawing paper, drew squares to represent the blocks and gave it to a friend. “Here’s your blueprint” he said. That friend then worked in Blokify to try and build what the friend drew for him while the other child made it with unit blocks.
In a recent Kinderchat about Math on Twitter, several of us lamented how math was hard for us in school and that we struggled with it. We realized that through those experiences, we work harder to make sure our students don’t have those some experiences. Whether it’s hands-on or virtual activities or a combination of both, we are working to build critical thinking and problem-solving skills with our students.
Listening to their conversations, I find even I am impressed…”I need to do more research on how the 3D printer works.” “I can help you make that. You have to see it in your mind first.” “I will take a screen shot of my structure and then you can try to make it look like mine.” “I can’t draw in 3D on paper but I can create in 3D on my iPad.” “Ask (Child’s Name)…he is an expert!
When another colleague found Blokify and suggested we download it, I had no idea the depth of thinking, problem solving and conversation that would take place. This is definitely not a flash-in-the-pan app for us. I see my kids sticking with it, building, problem solving and thinking critically for some time.
Today we will do exciting new things. Let’s get to it!