Middle Schoolers gain valuable experience in project management, creativity and product design while energizing their love of learning during collaborative iInnovate Day.
The day before Winter Break began, Middle Schoolers worked in teams to design and present a product, service, or concept based on their personal interests and strengths. Student groups worked independently, with teachers available for consultation rather than guidance. Groups could choose from many options, including planning the ultimate Minimester trip, designing or building robots, conceptualizing a new professional sports team, recording an original jingle, or planning a new business model. The overarching goal of the day was to inspire the excitement that results from free thinking and intellectual risk-taking.
The excitement built as students arrived in spaces without really knowing what was to come other than a special project. Students discovered their room was filled with classmates who had previously selected the same category and began building their teams.
Each team conducted a brainstorming session, compiling a list of subjects and ideas before selecting their favorite. Teams then created a project management plan and divided up tasks between team members. A thorough research component took place before each group collaborated to execute their project's build plan.
The products designed varied wildly, as did the manner in which they were presented. Once completed, teams rehearsed their presentation before delivering them to members of School leadership who provided feedback and asked questions to each team. Pitches included kitchen equipment to streamline meal preparation for busy families, stylish online fashion stores, mind-blowing video games, high-tech remote controlled robots, franchised professional sports teams, nonprofit organizations, and micro drones to aid in scientific research.
"Too often, student creativity is buffered by boundaries and specific target outcomes," said Mrs. Julie Bianchi, Head of Middle School. "iInnovate Day 2021 offered students the opportunity to explore their passions without limits. Working collaboratively with their peers provided enthusiasm and inspired original thinking. My hope is that students felt both accomplished and energized by the day's activities. I hope they walked away and said to themselves, "I innovate!"