On strategy that I have found useful is to reduce competition in the
classroom. Whether you use groups or work individually, have students
"compete" against a set of standards where all who reach the standards are
An example: Students are challenged to launch a water bottle rocket to 30
meters. An egg is attached in a payload bay of their own design and the egg
must return intact. Students must design a rocket/payload that reaches the
desired height and returns the egg safely. They soon find that the highest
rocket has a better chance of destroying the payload so will work to find
that fine line where they will meet the requirements of height while
ensuring the survivability of the egg.
This activity is usually conducted by having students see who can shoot the
rocket the highest, thus having one "winner." It's a lot more dramatic, but
the thinking involved in the first example is more sophisticated..and has
the potential for everyone being a winner.
I find girls to be more engaged and to share information with other groups
who are struggling. They become learners and teachers as well.
Everyone a winner? What a revolutionary idea!
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