Teacher Review For Curiosity Machine

Transform study hall using student-centered design challenges.

Todd B.
Classroom teacher
Lancaster Mennonite School
Lancaster, PA
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My Grades 7, 8
My Subjects Math, Science
EdTech Mentor
My Rating 4
Learning Scores
Engagement 4
Pedagogy 5
Support 4
My Students Liked It Yes
My Students Learned Yes
I Would Recommend It Yes
Setup Time 5-15 minutes
Great for Creation
Student-driven work
Great with Advanced learners
Low literacy
How I Use It
I have used the curiosity machine as a resource for students who habitually complete their school work and then have "nothing to do" in study hall, or what we call "work time." I introduce the site to students in a one-on-one setting and help them select a design challenge that interests them. I try to make sure the challenge is accessible to the student, i.e. that they will succeed. The response has been cautiously positive. Students like the idea of designing, and the added accountability of having experts review their work provides motivation.
My Take
I like the variety of the design challenges. There seems to be something for most students in this collection, from art to food to engineering. The student reads the challenge, watches an inspirational (hopefully!) video on the idea, and then has some open space to work through the design process. This provides the greatest learning possibility, with the attendant risk of student frustration. The greatest weakness of this site is directly related to its greatest strength. In giving students the greatest possibility of creativity, the tasks also give students the greatest possibility of losing interest in frustration when the challenge seems unattainable. I wholeheartedly affirm the mission of the curiosity machine. By using this collection of student-centered design-based activities, teachers and students will be forced work together in the best ways.