Grade 2: Helping the Characters of “Gooney Bird Greene”
After reading “Gooney Bird Greene” in their classrooms (a Grade 2 tradition) this month, students headed to the Gates Lab to research the successes and challenges of each character in the book. Utilizing the skills that make up the design thinking process (empathizing, defining, ideating, prototyping, and improving), they answered questions such as “who do you want to help?” and “what problem are you trying to solve?”
Upon answering these prompts, the students filled out a post-it note with their idea of what could help a character in the story. Everyone was encouraged to share their proposal with their group, listen to all voices and suggestions, and vote on which design to move forward with. After drawing a detailed sketch of their invention, the second graders made a shopping list of items they would need to look for in Gates, such as hot glue, pipe cleaners, cardboard, buttons, etc.
Following the construction of their project, the students took the time to reflect on how it felt to design something to help a character, what they would change about their idea if they had more time, what failure(s) they encountered, what they learned, and how it felt to work with a team.
At the end of the month, the entire second-grade class dressed up as “Gooney Bird Greene” characters and shared their ideas and final projects with their classmates.
Graland Country Day School is a private school in Denver, Colorado, serving students in preschool, kindergarten, elementary, and middle school. Founded in Denver in 1924, Graland incorporates a rich, experiential learning approach in a traditional classroom setting, emphasizing the development of globally and socially conscious leaders who excel academically.