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How to use Strawbees in your classroom?

At Strawbees we recognize each classroom is unique and that is why we offer a range of equally excellent products and content, balancing personalization and structure without compromising quality.

You will have access to a full range of Lesson Plans, Activities and Explorations as well as different ways to navigate through it, highlighting different learning strategies and expected outcomes.

Our learning expectations are tightly coupled with the Sustainable Development Goals and focused mainly on transferable skills, leaving room for you to incorporate the expectations from your local standards.

Some ideas might resonate with you and your organization, some might be the direction you want to move towards or avoid. In any case, we hope Strawbees can be the bridge between you and ideas that seemed impossible before.

Creative Learning Content

If you are looking for flexible learning opportunities, low entry barriers, wide range of outcomes and high expectations of what can be achieved, you will find the Creative Learning Spiral from MIT’s Lifelong Kindergarten as the backbone of our Lesson Plans.

City Building: Discuss and explore different community needs, including ways to connect individual neighborhoods into a unified city.City Building: Discuss and explore different community needs, including ways to connect individual neighborhoods into a unified city.
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City Building: Discuss and explore different community needs, including ways to connect individual neighborhoods into a unified city.
Robotic Olympics: Create robotic athletes and celebrate diversity in an Olympic event!
Geometric World: Develop spatial reasoning by creating and identifying geometric shapes.
Mechanical Inventions: Play with kinetic and potential energy, making connections between how it is generated, stored, moved and can be transformed.

The Lesson Plans are facilitation guides on how to engage in thematic projects and learn along the way, focusing on qualitative measures of learning, student agency and intrinsic motivation. Each lesson includes:

  • Recommended activities
  • Guiding questions for students
  • Behavior management ideas to help you shepherd group dynamics
  • Suggested preparation time
  • A list of learning objectives for you to harvest

Strawbees lesson plans can be used as-is, however they also invite innovation. These lessons are agile and we wholeheartedly encourage creative adaptations of the curriculum. They are meant to be informed starting points for you to meet the unique needs and interests of your class. Try new things, build on these ideas, and share what you discover!

Please note: regardless of the activity time suggestions, we encourage you to allow as much time as possible for students to iterate their projects as they travel through the Creative Learning Spiral. It’s important for children to have flexibility in working at their own pace.

Why the Creative Learning Spiral?

There is tremendous power in hands-on project-based learning that encourages students to imagine, create, play, share, and reflect together with the guidance of a caring teacher. The research and success of the Lifelong Kindergarten group at the MIT Media Lab has inspired our pedagogical approach, with a particular emphasis on the 4 P’s of creative learning [3].

Creative Learning Spiral: Imagine, Create, Play, Share and ReflectCreative Learning Spiral: Imagine, Create, Play, Share and Reflect

It is essential for us to cultivate creative thinking in younger generations, which is at the heart of Creative Learning Spiral projects. In addition to preparing them for an ever-evolving job market [1], we want to live in a world where children “...must learn to deal creatively with uncertainty and change - not only their work lives but also in their personal lives (how to develop and sustain friendships in an era of ever-changing social networks) and their civic lives (how to participate meaningfully in communities that have ever-shifting needs and boundaries).”[2]

Through creative and collaborative project-based learning, this is exactly what Strawbees aspires to do.

Competency-Based Content

If you have a specific set of goals to be achieved and are searching for ways in which your students can have a tangible and kinesthetic experience with it, we recommend you to have a look at Explorations. You will find guides to implement competency-based education strategies in your classroom.

What is competency-based education?

Competency-based learning refers to systems of instruction, assessment, grading, and academic reporting that are based on students demonstrating that they have learned the knowledge and skills they are expected to learn as they progress through their education.

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Images above by Great Schools Partnership (2018) is licensed under a Creative Commons AttributionNonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

How does it work

In public schools, competency-based systems use state learning standards to determine academic expectations and define “competency” or “proficiency” in a given course, subject area, or grade level (although other sets of standards may also be used, including standards developed by districts and schools or by subject-area organizations).

Why?

The general goal of competency-based learning is to ensure that students are acquiring the knowledge and skills that are deemed to be essential to success in school, higher education, careers, and adult life. If students fail to meet expected learning standards, they typically receive additional instruction, practice time, and academic support to help them achieve competency or meet the expected standards.

Stand-Alone Activity

If you already have a plan and is looking for inspiration, examples to show your students or just a prop for your classroom, you can go straight to our Activities and browse a list of step by step instructions each one with tips, tricks, customizations and challenges.

References

[1] J. Philipp Schmidt, Mitchel Resnick, & Joi Ito, (2016). Creative Learning and the Future of Work, Chapter 10.

[2] Resnick, M & Robinson, K, (2017). Lifelong Kindergarten: Cultivating Creativity Through Projects, Passion, Peers, and Play.

[3] Resnick, M (2014). Give P’s a Chance: Projects, Peers, Passion, Play