For the sixth graders, we had a simple parallel circuit on two sides of the Nile river. Gaps in the circuit would be filled by tin foil under the shapes to light up LEDs along important sites on the Nile.
Seventh graders were split into two groups, and they would each create shapes based on military themes from the Civil War and complete circuits for a map of the battle of Gettysburg. We incorporated a bit of friendly competition, as each group would only make shapes for either the North or the South and place them in the positions of units in the battle map.
Eight graders created shapes of buildings or something related to either the immigrant group they were studying or their own cultural heritage. For this group, we reused the city map in order to create "neighborhoods" of varied cultural backgrounds.
In this site, we set up in a cafeteria, so tables and talking to the entire group were not as much of a problem as in Oasis. This environment also allowed for more involvement with the kids and their making, so in some cases we got very creative results. Some sixth graders, for example, made very elaborate pyramids with egyptian glyphs on them, while an eight grader didn't use the shape templates and instead created his structure with popsicle sticks. This had been the first time we incorporated this alternative building material, and some kids definitely were more attached to using them over cutting and folding paper.
Once again, I appreciated the help and extra depth that the NSLA fellows added to our team, and I would imitate what I saw Marie or Gina do in order to bring out the kids' creativity or interest. For example, Marie was very good with working alongside the kids and giving them ideas and encouraging them to try new things. Gina was very good at working with kids that might be falling behind or needed some focus.
It was also interesting to hear about and visit Julia and her side of the program with the documentation station. Teaching kids on the computer was very different than in a hands-on activity, as more guidance and assistance was needed. An interesting source of friction here was the differing focus and attitude regarding the internet between our program and the standard Public School system. Often times, the kids' teachers and counselors seemed less cooperative than the kids themselves as they were constantly prohibiting and closely monitoring how the internet was used, while our focus was more centered on playing and learning through play.