General, User Stories | March 24, 2016

Cementing Student Learning with Messy Play

As a kid, returning to class after recess only to find out I’d be going back outside for a lesson was exciting every single time. It was usually for a science experiment, and there was always a mess (intended or not). It made learning even more fun. That’s what AO.com is doing with Month of Mess challenge. Messy play helps young students in their early years of development by teaching them important life skills (e.g., communication, social behavior, creativity, problem solving, etc.). It forces students to interact with the world around them in a way that can be fun and familiar, while furthering a lesson.

Get Messy: Fossil Hunting with Your Students

If you’re searching for ways to get your students out of the classroom to continue learning, try fossil hunting. But don’t just hunt for the fossils—make them! Here’s how:
  1. Purchase or make a plaster or clay for making fossils (recommendations)
  2. Collect specimens for fossilization
  3. Make fossils
  4. Bury fossils
  5. Go hunting
When the fossils are back in the classroom, have your students match their fossil to the specimen used to make it. Then, have each student reflect on the entire process and what he or she learned. Once everyone’s hands are clean, try using the new student video response and reflection app Recap. Create questions for your students and Recap will prompt them to capture their responses on video. For students who haven’t yet developed strong writing skills, Recap makes it easy to gather a snapshot of every students’ level of understanding.