The most important take-away for me was how students responded to the questions that Stephanie asked. Prompting them (in the After School Group) to tell stories created a situation where many students could not think past the tropes of Sponge Bob and Mario when asked for a character. Staying original and imaginative is most difficult but we did come up with some great initial ideas.


This week we worked on creating a story to bring to LCCS next week. After brainstorming and thinking about teaching, we spoke about our mission and extending our class goal to beyond earth day. We were given the task of coming up with keywords to make this goal more expanded beyond just our April 21st mission. Afterwords, Chris and I were paired up to work together to work together to create a story. Collaborating together was interesting, we both wanted to use a theme that neither of us had come up with so we could equally contribute and have equal ownership. We decided on contamination of water, and conversed on localized spots of contamination, as well as more broadly such as the overall water. After deciding to take the point of view of the water, we decided to use a wave as our character. We brainstormed some locations where water is being contaminated and I took notes on these for our story. When we first started to write the actual story, we realized we needed to make it more fun so Chris suggested that Wayne be the grandfather and have his home be contaminated by a garbage patch. Then he goes to visit his family in these other locations which are also being polluted. We wanted this story to teach a lesson, while also playing on the senses, and still being fun. I liked the idea of stemming from the broad and narrowing in, so going from the ocean to more localized sites inward to land, and ending in the middle of land where ocean pollution may be easily seen. Although I am not sure what prototype we will create for class next week (a storyboard,  a physical Wayne the wave, a puzzle etc.) I am excited to see what the students think of Wayne and our story so far.


In this week’s class, I catch up with the class. First, I get a general idea of what our class have done with the students from LCCS last week, it is really interesting to know we have achieved so much progress on our way to the project. Also we start to narrow down our ideas by written down analyze and classify the keywords. And we started to work on some deliverable stuffs in order to present it to the LCCS students next week. Really looking forward to meet them again!


This week we generated a bunch of keywords related to water, pollution etc. Kristiana and I then discussed how to synthesize (sp?) some of these ideas into a digestible story. We eventually landed on an ARG (alternate reality game) idea where the user is a spy investigating the ways we’ve been brainwashed into using plastics in our daily routines. By observing and documenting plastics use in the immediate surroundings the spy learns that these problems dont have one single solution and can feel overwhelming. However by the end they leave with the sense that they have a keener awareness of the issue on a grassroot level and are able to make small changes in their daily life.


This week was ideation week. We started creating stories that will eventually culminate into an experience. Griffin and I are leaning towards a learning experience through investigation. Later after class we brainstormed more story elements and discussed what made this detective/spy idea interesting to us and then made up several prototype ideas. I think what we need to look out for is making sure that our story is flexible enough that the kids can contribute their ideas and become a viable experience for Earth Day. Some thoughts that crossed my mind: what do we personally want to teach to kids and those at the venue?


What was most successful about in this class to me was the ability to narrow down the topic through the exercise. Through asking her questions and writing the answers down I could easily gauge her interests.  I figured out she was more interested in systematic and behavioral change. I think the most difficult parts of the last class were about how vague the question of “how do you feel about water” is.  Maybe we should divide ourselves into subtopic groups so the students can choose what topic most interests them


I’ve mentioned before in class that I lack teaching experience, but I recall a time when my martial arts instructor asked me to teach a junior student a complicated form sequence. I assumed he asked me to teach because I was experienced in this particular form (I’d been practicing it for over two years). But then why wouldn’t my instructor, who is much older and a far better teacher, instruct it himself? Surely he has practiced and taught this form much longer than I have? There were a couple of moments I noticed when my junior was learning this form from me. We were about seven years apart and the age gap only made us more comfortable with each other. That respectable, yet awkward student-teacher relationship was instead a peer-to-peer relationship where my junior can comfortably ask questions that helped him practice better. Another thing I’ve noticed while teaching is that I continuously learned even in the act of teaching: I had to review what I knew so that I wouldn’t miss a single detail, constantly pay attention to how my junior was responding to my advice, and correct him if he made a mistake. It was often the questions that juniors would ask where I learned the most. They would ask how to make specific movements or even how I would practice the movements at home. These questions would make me reflect on my practice and even refine my physical details. In the end, we would both grow as student and teacher, learning is never one-sided.

This was the mindset I wanted to bring to our visit with the kids. As long as they were curious and maintained a peer-to-peer relationship with me, we would be able to work together and make a great project. If we could find out what makes them curious, then those at the Liberty Science Center will be able to feel the same way.

More ideas!!

  • “Climate change isn’t new”–present interactive climate change data of earth vs. when human civilization began. In the form of: motion video projection, interactive touch board, or invisible infographic. Inspiration: the spiral infographic of the omnidome in the Natural History Museum
  • “Games of Thrones is actually about climate change”–compare climate change with story elements for GoT. In the form of illustrations, video clip comparisons. Inspiration: there’s a paper on this, will link later
  • “Your mission is”–collect people’s numbers, send them out into the open space, after a few minutes they receive a message, “You are in grave danger. Tiny microbeads disguised as cameras are hidden in the water.” Then they’ll receive an audio message that gives them instructions that culminate to the end of the story mission and a background to story elements. In form of: experiential audio/text. Inspiration: the app Zombies, Run!
  • “System modeling”—have systems (water, plastic, human) interact with each other (through touch objects or ui system) and project motion graphics of results. Inspiration: Jay Forrester system dynamics, simulations


I wasn’t able to come to class this week, but Mary Claire filled me in to what we talked about (thank you!). If I were to define teaching in my own words, I would define it as something which is both directing and learning. I believe that a correct way of teaching incorporates the knowledge you, as a teacher already have and allow someone else to see, as well as learning from that person and experience. Teaching allows for your knowledge to remain malleable, and constantly renovated. I have a few experiences where I have found this to be especially true. Working in a classroom, I have learned that you must always be listening and aware of how a lesson is going. Not everything goes to plan, ever, and I’ve had to learn to adapt to situations, change my approach and listen to why a certain lesson may not be sticking. To teach about water though, I think I would have the students list as many forms of water they can think of, and then compare class answers. Although many may have things such as ‘rain’ or ‘a shower’ some may have things like a puddle, or boiling water to make tea, or water that is dripping off of a dogs mouth. I think it would be a creative and fun way to expand our knowledge about water, and how important it is in our everyday lives.

Mary Claire

I rarely think about teaching on teaching. It was interesting in class to reflect on what really makes a teacher. I had to think about teachers I had and what made them excellent teachers. Growing up, my mother worked as an elementary school teacher and I felt like I got an earful about her classroom. It did feel like she was often raising the kids she taught and also being their therapist. Taking a basic understanding of that and applying it to a middle school classroom was interesting. Middle Schoolers seem right at the age when they like enthusiasm but they can detect fakeness in a heartbeat. I was blown away by how smart the kids were and how creative they were, even after a long day at school. I thought it was most interesting with Raneisha, who seemed at first like she didn’t want to be there, but when it came down to it, she threw herself into the project at hand.