Sources of Inspiration

After a thrilling week and a well-deserved break, we began the week by organizing a few activities around our third quarter motif, Inspiration. Our scheduling allows students to meet as one large group during blocks where both STEM and Humanities classes are in session. After a people-bingo icebreaker, students competed to create paper bridges similar to the marshmallow challenge at our initial orientation. While reflecting, they described how they’ve changed since the beginning of the year. They’re better iterators and recognize the merits in prototyping. This was a necessary reminder; we started the next STEM project Wednesday and the National History Day project is being presented this week.

Both in the last activity of the full group session and in the kickoff to our STEM project, students discussed the inspiration. Where does it come from? What ideas inspire you? Who are inspiring people? (The names Nikolai Tesla, Henry Ford, and Elon Musk are still visible on our white board under scattered circuit notes.) Upcoming projects – solving a problem with the use of battery-power and writing an original children’s book about a current issue – will succeed only after students are inspired.

This week, for their blog, we asked students to write about a person, invention, or idea-in-action that inspires them. FjollaJane, Rylie, Emily, Julia, and Siobhan wrote about family members. Kathryn, JoeyCarly, and Pierce wrote about athletes and musicians. Anselmo is “inspired by what’s wrong with the world” and Nicole wrote about someone making a difference in itGrayson and Angelina wrote about specific experiences in school. Everyone wrote about people.

These sources of inspiration will likely surface in their projects. Schools are often a place of standardization; I taught math classes where everyone did the same daily handouts at the same time. What’s inspiring about that? We hope what they do in the next few months – reading their children’s books to kids or showcasing their battery-powered creations – will be inspiring.


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