Here’s some great resources for those who are implementing Growth Mindset with their students:
Stanford’s d.school is one of my go-to resources for anything creative, so I was a bit surprised when I found this particular one completely by accident. I was looking for unique team-building tools, and “Stoke Deck” popped up. This free printable has 28 different activities that will help students to “Boost Energy, Create Focus, Get Personal, Nurture Camaraderie, and Communicate Mindsets.” They are each short exercises that can be used before starting a lesson – or even as a quick break during instruction. Some of them, like “Blind Disco,” may require some an established history of trust before you try them. Others, like “Long Lost Friends,” might be good for introductions. Almost all of them were new to me, so I can’t wait to try them!
Very soon after introducing T³Alliance it’s time to set the tone for the entire program with the introductory lesson on growth and fixed mindsets. As outlined in the video above, this fits into three components: 1. Teaching about growth mindset; 2 Set the tone with an ice breaker; and 3. Build a robot with a brushbot.
Here is the link to the presentation referenced above. The easiest way to get students on the same page is to share the Carol Dweck RSA Animate video. The video will introduce the importance of how we speak to each other about our work.
You may want to look for some materials for an ice breaker. These can be short pieces of rope that can be used to start off the program in the Infinite Loop Handcuff Solution: https://youtu.be/aiNl-EL6vfk.
Ready yourself for the brush bots with a plan for how you intend to allow for a competition to move forward. It may be that you have some rulers that you tape down to the table in a format for tracks. Here is a link to a resource that can be used with instructions for a brush bot competition
Do a challenging activity together where students will be outside what they are comfortable doing. Can they, under stress, manage their emotions and practice good feedback to themselves and others? Do they give up? After the activity, have them rate themselves with the attached EffortRubric
We believe in allowing curiosity, exploration and PLAY to happen. It means kids have to feel safe to explore and have fun, even in the midst of failures.
The term we now use is “neuroplasticity” to change the way our brains think.
Imagine your brain is like a forest. You could potentially make a walking path anywhere, but ahead of you is the road most often followed. The ground on this path is smooth and compacted, the brush has been cleared.
It’s easy to walk on, especially since you’ve walked it hundreds of thousands of times before. You walk on it automatically, unconscious of the decision to move in its direction rather than go, or be, another way.
If you want to change a belief or a habit or a physical sensation or negative self-talk, you must create a new path. You need to take a road less traveled.
You’ll need a machete to clear away the brush and branches. You’ll probably get scratched by spiky plants and twigs along the way. It will be hard.
You may ask yourself “Why bother? There’s a perfectly good path just over there.”
It’s easy to slip back into old ways of being.
That’s why most of all, it’s absolutely necessary to walk on this new path over and over and over again until the ground is smooth and compacted, until the old path has for grown over and the forest has reclaimed that space with a density of plants. Now the easy path is the one you created, consciously and with a healing intent.
Remind students that it’s only through failure that we gain our greatest knowledge.
Congratulations on taking the first step towards your students learning all they can and not limiting themselves or others. Changing from a “fixed” to a “growth” mindset is not easy. We often revert back to what we know when under stress. Encourage your students to keep this in mind as you continue to reinforce positive feedback.
Its the first day that you meet up with your students and they want to know what T³ Alliance is all about! Specifically, what will this year, or summer, or semester look like for them? To put this lesson together, you will need to plan a program based on what your individual situation looks like in your community and school. This post will help you assess your situation and come up with a plan that you can share with students.
The first day of a T³ Alliance class is exciting. The students sitting before you may have applied, or they may have been selected to be there, but the hopeful look of expectation will be the same. In teacher speak, this day is sometimes called the “honeymoon” period where students are well behaved and listen to what you have to share. You make a first impression today that helps send the message that you are both excited and that you mean business!
This first lesson will likely take from 30 – 45 minutes and will meet these objectives.
Objectives for the student on this first day:
1. Be able to describe the goals of the T3 Alliance program.
2. Learn about some projects that have been done by other T3 Alliance programs and what might be done by your program.
3. Understand what the expectations will be for a member of this class or club.
If these are the objectives for the students, then you as an instructor need to feel comfortable in answering these questions. Let’s start by unpacking each of these objectives.
Goals of T³Alliance.
This is a presentation that can help you understand program goals.
Projects that have been done by other T³ Alliance sites, and what might be done by your site.
This is a presentation that describes some projects that were done by T³ Alliance programs and some questions that you may want to consider as you outline possible community projects.
Understand what the expectations will be for a member of this class or club.
For you to share expectations, you will need to consider the reality or context of your program within the UB program at your University and understand the expectations for the program on a national or programmatic level.
Here are some questions to consider with your director: What will the teaching space or classroom space be like? What existing resources does your UB program have? What sort of student-teacher ratio can you expect? What are some “shovel ready” community engagement projects?
Things that are not negotiable for being in the program are: Having a growth mindset culture. Being accountable to each other, the community members they work with, to you (the instructor) and T3 Alliance.
There will be times when you meet, expectations for students in the program, and a vision that you will share with them for how this program will open opportunities. A general T³ Alliance presentation will be available that you can share.
Here are some resources that you will have at your disposal:
Google slide presentations about T³ Alliance goals and example projects. With a student focus! You are welcome to copy and edit as necessary.
Edit this: Edit these to meet the needs of your program:
Prepare your presentation and practice what you are going to share. As you think about teaching this, imagine having some time for students to brainstorm and talk about what they are excited to work with. If possible, try to have your first T³ Alliance meeting in a room that has access to computers. The initial survey takes about 20 minutes.
As you finish the first day of presentation, consider sharing what you are going to presenting on the first day in the forum.
The community engagement process can be a daunting task to start.
Student preparation means that you have created a safe learning environment and helped students maintain a growth mindset. This means primarily that you constantly celebrate speech patterns that support a growth mindset. It also means that they have “played” with enough technology to feel that they have the ability to creatively apply it in a variety of situations. Activities in the kits will help with this, but so do icebreakers that involve working together and connecting with others. Make sure to include time to play and try stuff – don’t rush tech skills training. Teach the design thinking process, and guide them along every step of the way. The process is pregnant with opportunities to practice communication and teamwork skills.
We will have guides to help with the communication skills. The most important one that students should practice is the skill of listening. Below is a graphic showing other skills that should be taught as needed. We work with communication experts to get tips and tricks for the best ways to help guide students as they go through this. It is important that you introduce topics when there is a context for learning about it.
Introduce the Design Thinking process developed at Stanford and presented well in this crash course PDF. I have modified the design they use here to reflect a general T3 alliance project. We introduce the mini-grant proposal as a step right before a prototype phase. This is only necessary when the cost of building the prototype exceeds what you have on hand and consider consumable.
The most important thing a program can do to support the community engagement process is cutting through the red tape that exists in any institution. Things that a program needs to do to prep, finding an appropriate learning space, preparing for local field trips, managing the finances for small-scale projects, helping with background checks for community members, managing equipment, and hiring capable staff with some sort of computer science background. Perhaps the most important aspect of a program is being ready to support student ideas for projects with immediate financial backing. The mini grant / deliverables process is very important.
The community has always been key for societies to raise their youth. In many native cultures, there are stories of youth getting their first fish, or game animal, bringing it back to the village and being celebrated for the contribution they made to the survival of the community.
Learn your elevator pitch and be ready to tell anyone you meet about the what T3 alliance is about in under a minute. An “elevator pitch” is a term used to describe what you would say if you were in an elevator with an important job prospect or grant manager. They don’t know of you, so you have 60 seconds to sell your idea. You are leaving them with an opening to ask more, and possibly get involved. The image below shows an idea for redesigning our website – but it can be broken down into the pitch – the three big bubbles showing what we do and how it turns into studnet involvement in STEM career fields.
Once they are interested, outline what a specific commitment might look like and develop the relationship with attunement to safety, communication, and set up at least 3 opportunities for interaction. The first interaction does not need to be done in person, but it’s better if it can be. Here is an example of an interview we filmed for a possible client partnership with the Upward Bound Programs at UH Hilo and an astronomy project.
The second interaction should be somewhere around the testing phase. Once a project is developed. they should work together to analyze results to see if it fits the client’s needs. The last interaction should be a celebration of some sort. Presenting a completed project to an appreciative community member is an incredible experience for a group of students. If a potential client understands and can support this, then move forward, if not, gently separate yourself from the relationship.
Here are a few tips:
1: Remember why you are doing this – details can pop up that will frustrate you.
Start small – Upward bound office, someone at the university, STEM friends, Non-Profits, Government organizations are all potential sites where you could find projects. Small and safe is a good first step. Over time, it will get more complicated. Every small success for a group of students builds confidence. We used selfie stations to get kids feeling the process.
Teach when they need to know. Don’t teach writing skills until they need to write a proposal. As soon as you want them to use a video camera – teach what they need to know to produce the video you want them to have for a deliverable. Context is everything!
4. Trust the PROCESS. The design thinking process is a step by step guide. If you always come back to that you will be able to help every student redirect their actions.
Here is an example of an applied design thinking project done with a class of 17 students at the University of Hawaii Hilo Upward Bound T³ Alliance during the summer of 2018. Node Red and physical Raspberry Pi setup instructions can be found on this post.
Students had mastered the skills associated with basic physical computing and Node Red.They were capable of setting up a button, an LED Ring, using a sonic sensor, a PIR sensor, and a small camera.They had been able to combine all these components using Node Red and were capable of generating emails that sent a photo.
I asked around for a person or group at the university that might be interested in a device that could take photos and have them emailed instantly. Eventually I found the perfect potential client in Shara Mahoe, the director of new student services.She was planning a scavenger hunt for the new student orientation day later in the summer when 600 freshmen appear and nervously try to find their way around the large UH Hilo campus.She listened to my description of what the students in our T3alliance program were able to do and how design thinking process worked. Once she understood what was involved, she signed up to be a client.
Shara and a colleague showed up in my classroom the next day and I interviewed her in front of the class.She described her day and what she hoped it would feel like to new students.She listed out 5 locations around the University that could use a selfie station and asked my students if they could find a solution that would work.I had previously broken the students up with an ice breaker activity and they now found themselves choosing one of the sites around campus to design a selfie station.As a team, they discussed what they had heard Shara speak about and filled out the first section of the guide questions associated with the “empathy” stage of the design thinking process.
We took a quick walking field trip to each location and the students finished the “define” phase, where they articulated exactly what was needed and what the constraints were, and moved into a brainstorming “ideation” phase. Students were tempted to think there was just one type of solution to the selfie station problem, but they sketched out three different ideas. When this was finished they chose a “prototype” design they wanted to build and they wrote out a mini grant proposal.
When the proposal is complete, we submitted it to the Upward Bound director for approval.We prepared ahead for this type of project with wires, and buttons and extra raspberry pi devices with cameras and power supplies.After the proposal was approved we handed out and checked off the items that had been requested on each proposal. The students got right to work building the prototype selfie stations.
We instructors restrained ourselves from helping too much and let the teams figure out how to build their designs.When students would ask for help, we would respond with a question. Eventually, the students learned to frame their questions in such a way as to be able to google the answer.We helped in the areas where a skill had not been introduced, such as soldering, or learning to “remote” into the pi. The teams were responsible for building the prototype, writing the code that controlled it, and recording and editing a short video.
Several days later, Shara met with us to see the results. The students walked around the campus with her demonstrating the way their selfie stations worked and noting what things could be improved.One team had an opportunity to radically modify their design because it didn’t take into account the safety considerations necessary when a crowd of students would moving past a certain area.
The students were beaming when Shara thanked the group.She appreciated their efforts and asked them to sign their work so that new students at the school knew who had built these stations. Each group modified and perfected the design and the instructions.
As part of the initial mini grant application, The teams had been responsible for writing user instructions, making a video about the project and writing a short report about the progress of the project.
This is a continuation of the brush bot activity from the previous class. It may be helpful to have some sort of prize, a 3d printed item or a certificate.
Begin by asking if students got their brushbots to work? To move in a way they wanted? What variables were they able to change? Ask if they feel like their minds grew and what did they notice about themselves as they were building and testing their robots.
Setup and run the 750 mm races and the Sumo competition. Here is a link to some rules.
For this lesson, you will want to have enough Brushbot kits for every student you are working with.
Time: approx. 30 min.
Part 1: Growth mindset and fixed mindset are some patterns that researchers have observed in students.
Here are a series of statements that can be used to assess a person’s fixed or growth mindset. I like to review them before presenting the activity and encourage students just to note where they fit. The actual survey can be found here.
The RSA animate video below has an excellent overview of how Growth and Fixed mindsets express themselves and are developed. To use this with a group of students, plan to pause the video at 4:23 to allow students to talk about the issues raised. Be careful not to equate a fixed mindset with bad and a growth mindset with good.
After watching this video, allow time to review the questions outlined previously and reflect on why mindset is so important. Using daily reminders about growth mindset and keeping company with those that support your growth mindset is important. Make a commitment as a class to support a growth mindset environment and see every setback as a learning opportunity.
Pass out batteries – identify batteries as a technology that today looks common but, was once a science experiment. Have students hold the battery between their thumb and forefinger and envision a tiny bit of electricity moving through their hands.
Pass out the kits – take out the cell phone motor and have students get it moving with the battery.
This a moment pregnant with learning potential.
The flow of electricity, what is causing the motor to vibrate…
What happens if the wires are switched to the opposite side of the battery.
Leave the students with the idea that potential energy is transferred into kinetic energy and that they have the tools in the kit to turn this energy into a robot.
Leave the students to work on their project. This is hard to not help, but control yourself and let them do the exploring. Ask questions to help guide frustrated engineers. Remember, they are learning to exercise growth mindset.
Once it works, have them observe how different ones perform. What can be done to compensate.
At the end of the time help them disconnect their robots and take them home to prepare for the next day’s competition.