Because I teach gifted students, they come with many abilities to my classroom. When I differentiate my curriculum and activities I try to give opportunities to these students in areas that are their strengths. The benefits of having an ICE contest is the motivation it gives the students to complete their project for the competition.
Does it help you achieve specific instructional goals you have set for your students?
Yes, I try to have the students see the value of going beyond the regular expectations. I try to motivate them to complete the activity so that they have their own intrinsic reward. I’m wanting my students to be life long learners, and to be mindful about our energy usage and what we can do differently. The contest has given us a format to complete this task.
What types of positive learning have you seen from your students with the Igniting Creative Energy Challenge?
I do not require that the students participate. Because we are doing energy related activities in the classroom, the positive learning that I have seen from my students is their motivation to design, write, produce, organize their projects all on their own. My students spend many hours outside of class on their spare time creating projects. It has extended the school day for them, and has given them a platform to shine in an area that they excel in.
Are there any tips or suggestions you can share that would assist other teachers in their implementation of the ICE Challenge?
I think that doing a whole class activity all year that deals with energy helps students to generate ideas, discuss the importance of how we manage our energy usage and brings energy into a constant discussion. The students that have won from my classroom have chosen projects that related to our project, or were used by the classroom in implementing our project. I use the ICE competition to help highlight the students who are self motivated activist with our classroom project. We brainstorm ideas all year that they can contribute to our classroom energy project, which then can be used for their individual ICE project.
Is there anything you can share with me as we move forward with this program that you think would make it more successful for teachers and students?
I think that their are many curriculum ties of how this project can be implemented. We write about energy usage, research issues, debate issues, give speeches, present our research to organizations, gather data, design displays, etc. Making the curriculum have purpose and relevant meaning today with current events and topics is how education should be taught. I don’t make this an extra project, I make it part of my everyday teaching.