Create a List

List Name

Rename this List
Save to
Back to the Top Teaching Blog
October 18, 2016 "Unboxing" Creative Potential: An Activity for Digital Natives By Stacey Burt
Grades 3–5, 6–8

    Every day I get to experience life with a 10-year-old. Awkward, independent, and smart, Adeline is also a tech-savvy kid. She has never known a time without a computer, cell phone, or tablet. Digital natives like Adeline take command of digital interfaces with gusto, seemingly knowing exactly how to swipe up or down, left or right.

    For the past couple of years, my daughter has abandoned the television in favor of YouTube videos. Among the segments she likes the best are the “unboxing” videos. (For the uninitiated, these are exactly as what they sound: videos of people unpacking things — generally tech items — from boxes.) She has numerous collections of random objects and books, and the unboxing videos get her amped up about the possibility of seeing another part of a collection she might be unfamiliar with. It’s nuts, or at least I thought it was nuts until I began to consider ways I could create my own unboxing videos to introduce topics in any of the subjects I teach. Even better, having the students create unboxing videos would be a great project option!

    I could imagine students unboxing mythological creatures or Greek gods and goddesses via artifacts and symbols, or unboxing geometric concepts with various polyhedron, geometric shapes, and mathematical tools. Unboxing an author study or ANY book for a booktalk. The possibilities were overwhelming. In an attempt to pique the interest of my digital learners, I created my own unboxing video about alternative energy sources.

    [brightcove:5168678398001]

     

    I also designed a planning sheet for producing unboxing videos for students interested in creating their own as an option on their science choice boards. Click on the sheet below to print as many copies as you need.

     

    Another option with this activity would be to turn it into a game, "Straight Outta The Box." One group of students could package items that relate to a topic or idea studied in class and give it to another group to “unbox.” Video could be shot while they describe the contents of the container to the audience as they attempt to guess the ideas, concept or skill they are unboxing. Or, have students create 1 to 2 minute unboxing videos to unveil a concept or idea to the class and the students could attempt to guess the idea for points. Might be an interesting way to assess knowledge of a story, mathematical concept, or historical event.

    My students had no idea what I was about to show them when I played the video, only that I was introducing a new topic. The video was well received and led us into a discussion not only about the topic(s), but also about creativity and some of the most powerful ways to engage young minds in the classroom. It was good — really good. More than half of the students admitted to watching unboxing videos on a regular basis and could not believe I was hip enough to know what they were.

    For more information on the importance of embedding creativity and fostering it in your classroom, see Angela Bunyi’s post. While this type of project may not appeal to all students, I would urge educators to include it on a choice board or as an option for reporting research in ANY content area. Having a choice is important, and having a choice that speaks to your generation or preferred learning style sends the message that the teacher is paying attention, and that the students’ interest and learning modality have value.

    We know that when learning is a fluid process, children are provided opportunities for discovery and engagement at deep levels. There is power in the discovering-together-as-we-dive-in approach. The creative stamp students put on processes and products weave together schema and new information in a manner that can be permanent. And isn’t that a goal for all of the children we teach?

    Feel free to use the planning sheets to meet your students’ needs. If you would like to modify the planning sheets, let me know and I will gladly send you a copy in an editable format. If you think of something else to add to process, please share it here. I would love to hear your ideas.

    Every day I get to experience life with a 10-year-old. Awkward, independent, and smart, Adeline is also a tech-savvy kid. She has never known a time without a computer, cell phone, or tablet. Digital natives like Adeline take command of digital interfaces with gusto, seemingly knowing exactly how to swipe up or down, left or right.

    For the past couple of years, my daughter has abandoned the television in favor of YouTube videos. Among the segments she likes the best are the “unboxing” videos. (For the uninitiated, these are exactly as what they sound: videos of people unpacking things — generally tech items — from boxes.) She has numerous collections of random objects and books, and the unboxing videos get her amped up about the possibility of seeing another part of a collection she might be unfamiliar with. It’s nuts, or at least I thought it was nuts until I began to consider ways I could create my own unboxing videos to introduce topics in any of the subjects I teach. Even better, having the students create unboxing videos would be a great project option!

    I could imagine students unboxing mythological creatures or Greek gods and goddesses via artifacts and symbols, or unboxing geometric concepts with various polyhedron, geometric shapes, and mathematical tools. Unboxing an author study or ANY book for a booktalk. The possibilities were overwhelming. In an attempt to pique the interest of my digital learners, I created my own unboxing video about alternative energy sources.

    [brightcove:5168678398001]

     

    I also designed a planning sheet for producing unboxing videos for students interested in creating their own as an option on their science choice boards. Click on the sheet below to print as many copies as you need.

     

    Another option with this activity would be to turn it into a game, "Straight Outta The Box." One group of students could package items that relate to a topic or idea studied in class and give it to another group to “unbox.” Video could be shot while they describe the contents of the container to the audience as they attempt to guess the ideas, concept or skill they are unboxing. Or, have students create 1 to 2 minute unboxing videos to unveil a concept or idea to the class and the students could attempt to guess the idea for points. Might be an interesting way to assess knowledge of a story, mathematical concept, or historical event.

    My students had no idea what I was about to show them when I played the video, only that I was introducing a new topic. The video was well received and led us into a discussion not only about the topic(s), but also about creativity and some of the most powerful ways to engage young minds in the classroom. It was good — really good. More than half of the students admitted to watching unboxing videos on a regular basis and could not believe I was hip enough to know what they were.

    For more information on the importance of embedding creativity and fostering it in your classroom, see Angela Bunyi’s post. While this type of project may not appeal to all students, I would urge educators to include it on a choice board or as an option for reporting research in ANY content area. Having a choice is important, and having a choice that speaks to your generation or preferred learning style sends the message that the teacher is paying attention, and that the students’ interest and learning modality have value.

    We know that when learning is a fluid process, children are provided opportunities for discovery and engagement at deep levels. There is power in the discovering-together-as-we-dive-in approach. The creative stamp students put on processes and products weave together schema and new information in a manner that can be permanent. And isn’t that a goal for all of the children we teach?

    Feel free to use the planning sheets to meet your students’ needs. If you would like to modify the planning sheets, let me know and I will gladly send you a copy in an editable format. If you think of something else to add to process, please share it here. I would love to hear your ideas.

Comments

Share your ideas about this article

My Scholastic

Susan Cheyney

GRADES: 1-2
About Us