| Scavenger Hunt |
In the Stuff That Works! curriculum, Gary Benenson, Jim Neujahr and others at CCNY use the "scavenger hunt" as a way for students to build a base of experiences that will help them do projects that can include both investigating and designing technology.
For the hunt, students are asked to search around their homes and neighborhoods and bring in exemplars of everyday devices or systems they will be studying. The goal here is for students to collect low- or no-cost cases and to get them to notice how we all are surrounded by technology. With their collections of artifacts in hand, students then move to the next phase of their investigation: placing their items into piles or groups. These student-made categories reflect their current thinking about what are similarities among items within the pile, and important differences in features or structures between piles.
The investigation then moves on to teams guessing each other's categories, and teams revealing their original groupings. This work helps build a class-wide shared vocabulary and experience base among students, and can show teachers how kids are constructing understandings about the technology differently. All of this supports a discussion where standard terminology gets introduced, and linked to examples, ideas and language that the class developed.