|Pulling a lever to start a ball down a maze|
|The workshop table.|
The whole exhibit reminded me a lot of my own childhood, to be honest. My mother encouraged us to do the same sort of open-ended creations. Shoe boxes became doll houses, pieces of cardboard because board games, car race tracks, and boats. As a child I remember being extremely excited whenever anyone in my family got new shoes, because it meant I got the box. I would be filled with angry disappointment if we bought shoes at a place like TJ Max that gave you shoes without the box. How dare they? Don't they know all of the possibilities just waiting inside that cardboard? I had an entire doll house made out of nothing but reclaimed recycling. It had three wings and every time I got another shoe box the family got another room for their house.
The museum reminded me of that childhood wonder, and the amount of time I spent tinkering with open ended creative projects. I went home and dedicated a plastic storage box to my daughter's own creations. I'm slowly filling it with empty toilet paper rolls, the more interesting boxes from Christmas presents, and other various items otherwise headed for the trash. She's only three but she already loves running to it to work on her art.
On the wall of the workshop was a hands-onpolling system. Sadly my picture didn't come out very well so you can't see what the labels on the tubes, but they say things like, "Tried something new", "Did something I didn't think I could do", "Got better at something I did before." I love this. I love everything about this poll. It's tangible, it's easy to understand, and it so quickly and easily promotes a growth mindset. If I had my own classroom I would want to implement something like this so that the children could easily drop their cardboard tokens into the tubes. The class discussions it would foster- from "what did you do new today?" to "Which tube has the most? The least? Why do you think that is?" could be so rich.There is so much more I could say about the museum and the experience. The wall where you could catch letters- how much do I want that technology in the classroom so I could turn letters into high frequency words? Every aspect of the museum promoted hands on critical thinking geared to multiple ages. In short, it was exactly my perfect image of a school would be- if we had enough flexible thinking to allow for so many open ended tasks.