If you do then you, like me, were most likely a child born in the 1970's who enjoyed watching television in the 1980's - including MacGyver. If you didn't happen to watch this show, suffice it to say, MacGyver could get out of almost any situation using whatever everyday objects he had on hand.
This past week, my students were little MacGyvers, solving problems using their creativity and their wits!
It all started the day when we began listening to The Twizzlecaps story. My students were really enjoying listening, and couldn't seem to wait until the next chapter.
Please, can we just hear one more?
We were listening to a few chapters about a baby owl who had fallen from his nest and broken his wing. The owl parents and other birds in the forest are beside themselves with worry because they think the sly fox will come along and eat the baby owl. Mr. and Mrs. Twizzlecap offer to help. They know the owl parents cannot lift the baby back into the nest or help him with his broken wing because they have such sharp talons. Mr. and Mrs. Twizzlecap on the other hand, have soft fingers that could be good for helping and healing - if only they could find a way to get the baby back into the nest!
I paused the story there, but later during lunch the children and I discussed how they thought the Twizzlecaps would try to get the baby owl back into the nest. I reminded them the Twizzlecaps could not buy any supplies for their rescue attempt, but rather had to use only materials they could find in the forest. The children had many good and very interesting ideas so the next day I asked them to draw their solutions. I took dictation, and wrote down their explanations.
They should build a big see saw, put the baby owl on one end and jump on the other end. Then the baby owl would be "whisked" (he made a whooshing noise that I cannot replicate with words) right back into the nest!
Mr. and Mrs. Twizzlecap should jump on the fox and distract him. Then the fairies can use a rope to pull up the baby owl. (See the fox in the bottom right corner?)
They should use a big piece of bark and make a long ramp. Then the baby owl can walk right up the tree.
They should build an elevator, and just pull him up!
The Twizzlecaps should put something sticky on his [the baby owl's] feet, like some tree sap maybe, and then let him walk right up the trunk of the tree!
We headed outside to try out some of the children's MacGyver-like solutions. Please note I do not have an owl toy in the classroom so we had to use a little blue jay instead. The children didn't seem to mind.
Using a "rope"
Building a ramp
Making an elevator
Building a see saw type contraption
"Whizzzzzzzz!" See the "owl" flying right back into his nest?!?! See the little fox in the lower right corner of the picture? The baby owl flew right over his head! Well, almost.
By letting the students solve the problem of how to rescue the baby owl and return him to his nest, the students became not only more engaged and involved with the characters and the outcome of the audio story, but also used their imaginations to come up with creative and innovative solutions to a problem. And did you notice, they also snuck in some learning about simple machines!
Watch out, MacGyver. I think you've got some competition!