designing Reverse Time Capsules
This week in the Saturday Art Workshop, I taught Reverse Time Capsules which were containers from the future that people had time traveled to the present to leave behind for contemporary folks to find. I gave them the handout and explained that I wanted them to make three pieces to go inside the capsule, such as an artwork from the future, a solution to an ecological problem, a science or medical invention, a new type of building, or the X factor, which was something of their choice. The kids seemed to pick up on this idea faster than I thought they would.
I started off asking them what they knew about time capsules and one said that they just opened one at her school from 100 years ago which was really neat. Then I showed them some of my examples and they got so excited that they just got up and started grabbing cardboard and model magic. I quickly showed them the art materials and wrangled them back into the PowerPoint, which was short. I felt like I had the reins to a wild horse. I realized afterwards that I shouldn’t have shown them my examples right away; I should have waited until after the images because I tried to get them to brainstorm but they just didn’t want to after they had seen the materials and had too much model magic in hand. One thing I could have done is given each a small piece of clay and a piece of paper as we were talking and then they could have brainstormed in 2-D and 3-D. One question I have is what do you do when kids really don’t want to brainstorm or do part of an activity? Do you leave it by the side of the road and just go with what they are interested in?
The pacing also seemed different this time, although we had other kids because the regular ones were absent. The girl who usually finishes early spent so much time on her box that she only made one future animal and its clothing, but it looked good. Another boy ended early so I had him work on making his mini museum with titles, which is what they all did at the end. It gave them a chance to talk about their art so their peers could comment. Overall I think the timing went pretty well for a 90-minute activity and each one had a completely different capsule shape and ideas. One kid made a car that made tornadoes and a future animal that was similar to a worm that lived in the jungle; another made a bucket that saves water and a place for storing energy.
Another question I have is how do you get kids to explore their ideas more before just steamrolling ahead with what they have planned? It seemed like most of them knew exactly what they wanted to do before they considered too many options. It’s positive in the sense that they are strong-willed but how do you get them to brainstorm and play more before making decisions?