Prior to providing the children with this opportunity, we decided that the children needed to have a deeper understanding of The Learning Pit. We wanted the children to understand that if they were going to drive their own learning that they needed to ensure they were being personally challenged - the learning had to be hard if they were actually going to be developing and growing their knowledge and skills. Katie and Clive developed the children's understanding of 'being in the learning pit' through a series of challenges and rich conversations. One of the challenges was a balloon powered car and the other was a paper challenge. In both cases, the children were given the resources but no instructions. The children worked in teams and some individually.
While the children were completing the challenges they were ask to record what they were thinking and feeling on post-it notes. Katie and Clive then used the children's comments on the post-it notes to co-construct their understanding of 'the learning pit'. With the children's comments on post-its, Katie and Clive asked questions such as...
- "How did you feel when we first gave you the challenge?"
- "How do you feel now?
- "What Habits of Mind did you have to use to help you?"
- "Is it good for our learning if things are easy?
When the children had visited Mind Lab in Wellington at the end of Term Three, they learnt about FAIL - First Attempt In Learning. This concept obviously really resonated with the children and they constantly made links between the learning at Mind Lab and being in the learning pit.
Following a series of challenges, Katie and Clive asked the children to re-asses themselves on their learner pathway. There were 17 children out of 58 who thought they could move to 'Driver'.