New Heights Continued

Innovation Learning Lab is designed to promote children working together through inquiry to solve a problem. The following is a continuation of “New Heights”, the beginning of an exploration of compassion and consideration for others.

Through the process of exploring how to help friends not feel scared when climbing the Cloud Climber, three main ideas rose to the top. Children wanted to

  1. Develop games to help climbers feel less scared.
  2. Study what makes the Cloud Climber strong and safe
  3. Create a phone system in the clouds to help climbers feel connected at all levels

Let’s take a closer look at how these three groups conquered fear through perseverance and teamwork.

Compassion and consideration for others drove the work behind creating games to help friends have less fear of the Cloud Climber. Before they began creating games, they took into careful consideration of what would be important to include in their goal of helping friends feel less scared.

The aspects they came up with included taking your time, partnering with a friend, setting goals, and encouraging bravery. Creativity exploded, and they designed different games supporting their fellow classmates and friends.

Cloud Climber games engage and comfort

Cloud Climber Yoga encouraged children to pause in moments of fear and relax their bodies. Simon Says demonstrated ways to practice positive self-talk, taking your time, and encouraging others. Sports-themed games such as soccer, ball tag, and football were designed to have a goal to focus while taking your mind off your fears. Lastly, hide-n-seek brought in the comfort of taking a stuffed animal with you and knowing you can hide on any level you feel safe on.

As children played their games they were thrilled to see friends, who were previously nervous, start to feel brave. Celebrations and cheering filled the prairie with joy and excitement in the success of friends climbing to new heights.

Create your own climber

A deep interest in how Luckey Climbers made our Cloud Climber strong and safe inspired children to explore how it was made and how they could create their own. As they investigated the process in which the Cloud Climber was assembled, they learned the value of first having a solid structure that could safely hold the weight-bearing needs of each platform.

Before constructing their own miniature Cloud Climber, students did some prototyping to deepen their understanding of what made the structure strong. Teamwork was foundational during this process. Every child had to both share and listen to different perspectives on design and material choice. Compromises were made, and teams carefully mapped out detailed plans of what their structure would look like and what materials they need.

Once the final plans were complete, teams presented their ideas to their fellow classmates for input and feedback. Children quickly learned that even with plans, sometimes revisions are inevitable once the construction process begins, but this didn’t stop any of them.

True persistence and determination resulted in each team successfully building their own miniature version of a Cloud Climber. Once completed, they presented their findings of the construction process and what made their creations both strong and safe to their entire class.

Phone system connects climbers

Another project the group worked on was a phone system for the Cloud Climber. Many of the museum exhibits at the Children’s Museum of South Dakota have a phone, so guests can call each other from exhibit to exhibit. But this phone could have an added benefit.

Children who were a little afraid of climbing high in the Cloud Climber were saddened thinking about what experiences they were missing with their friends who climbed to the top. They wanted to be able to communicate and join in on the play happening above them. One child shared the idea of having a phone in the Cloud Climber and everyone agreed this would be a positive solution.

The group worked together to measure and map out phone lines connecting multiple levels of the Cloud Climber. The secured materials, including tubing and funnel and as they tested them for the first time, they were ecstatic that they could talk with friends on all levels of the Cloud Climber.

    

During the children’s final visit to the museum for Innovation Learning Lab, each group presented their project to their fellow classmates and their parents. Pride filled their faces as they shared their plans for helping others. However, it was more than just helping them climbing to new heights. It was about making sure everyone felt safe and included because this is when the Cloud Climber became a place where imaginations could really soar.

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