My rationale for bringing this into my classroom is really founded on my beliefs that students come to me with ideas and questions. They come with ideas for solutions to problems that they face in their lives and I wanted to give them the opportunity to explore these. They started with describing a problem that they want to solve or a question they want to investigate. Following this, they brainstormed possible solutions by sketching, writing, and doodling. It was amazing to see their ideas take form and to hear about topics that matter to them. One wants to come up with a jacket that makes you feel warm as soon as you put it on. Several want to investigate ways to tackle Ebola. Another set off exploring ways to package waffles and syrup on the go. Yet another researched thorium as a new source of energy.
The next step was for them to investigate what has already been done in their areas of interest. They did this by going to Google patent search as a springboard to further develop their background and innovation. This in turn led them to deeper investigation with some heading into material science and even chemistry. More updates on genius middle schoolers yet to come…they may just join the ranks of these 8 who have changed the world.