With school closing because of COVID-19, our school was looking for a way to keep our students planning, designing, and creating.
A week after our school closed, we received some new student Chromebooks. Inside were beautiful new laptops, that I know our students will be so happy to use when we return to school. But what about now? I couldn’t help but notice that the laptops were protected inside the box by these foam pieces that I could see our students building with. They were interlocking and the possibilities were endless.
So, I got large trash bags and bagged them up. I put 2 bags out front of our school, where students were picking up books and printed work packets, with a sign that said, TAKE A BAG AND BUILD! They didn’t last a day. So, out went 2 more bags… and before I knew it, they were all gone. And when I saw their parents post these pictures for us to see, I was so excited!
What I also noticed was these great Chromebooks came in equally great boxes, you know the boxes you just hate to throw away! So, what to do with the boxes….?
I had gone to an Engineering conference and heard someone, sorry I can’t remember who, talk about Bags of Awesome. I had mentioned to my principal that I would love to do something like that for our students. Just a few supplies that they could pick up and Make with. She saw all the boxes and said, “How about Boxes of Awesome?” We had the boxes, we just needed to add a few supplies and I knew our students would take care of the Awesome!
I was lucky that we had a good supply of materials in the Wonder Lab, our school’s STEAM Lab + Makerspace. The first week, I added construction paper, straws, pipe cleaners, cotton balls, a glue stick, tissue paper, pom poms, small plates, bottle caps, and feathers. Just a few of each, just enough to get our students thinking, creating, and making!
I made 10 boxes and put them out front. I snapped a picture and posted it on Facebook. Those 10 were gone in no time. Parents were commenting about not seeing any boxes. So, I made 10 more. GONE! I only had a little time left in my day, but I managed to throw together 9 more. GONE! Parent and kids LOVED them! They were posting pictures on Facebook, Shaw Elementary, and Instagram, shawwonderlab, showing what their child had made, along with comments like “Are you going to be putting out more boxes?” and “Will you be doing this again?” You bet!