Every Neurons activity follows a constructionist approach to learning, meaning that they are experiential, hands-on and require the learner to make or build something that is meaningful to them. Because of this, our activities encourage individualism, creative thinking, problem solving and play. Find out how LEGO apply this philosophy.
We are, however, mindful of the fact that learners may need to gain new skills in order to do this successfully. This is why we have developed a structure in which we situate our activities. What follows is a framework that is structured in such a way that each learner is empowered to produce something different and unique.
Context is key, and informs the learner what they will be heading towards as they progress through the activity. During this stage, learners will be asked to do some research that will be crucial to the success of their activity. This might involve: searching the Internet (some links might be provided), talking to family and friends, looking around their environment etc.
This stage is instructionist and can be compared to following a recipe. It is also where basic (and not-so basic) skills are developed. These skills will be important as learners progress to creating their own artefact.
This stage encourages learners to interact with what they have been given, and to apply the skills and knowledge gained in the “Do this” stage to new and unfamiliar situations. This approach develops a deeper understanding. We can also think of this stage as ‘tinkering’ with what they have. Tinkering means that they are beginning to personalise their learning.
This is where learners can really free their imagination and creativity. It is the most playful stage in the process. We can define play as an activity which is joyful, engaging, meaningful, socially interactive and iterative. In this stage, learners are encouraged to use what they have learnt in previous stages to imagine possibilities and create something new or truly unique. There may be some suggestions, but what we really want is for learners to experiment and try ideas out – and not be afraid to fail before settling on their finished piece.
This stage is about celebration. Different activities will lend themselves to different ways of sharing. This might be: taking photographs or video, staging a performance or a screening, or curating an exhibition at home. Sharing is important, as it not only celebrates achievements, but may also spark new or different ideas, thereby starting the whole process again. Learners will be encouraged to share on the Neurons Creative Community – a safe space where ideas and creations can be shared and connections made.
The Creative Community will also be used by learners after the ‘Find Out’, ‘Do This’ and ‘Try This’ stages. The Let’s Celebrate stages are there for learners to capture, record and share their progress as they work through the activities. This learning framework was inspired by the Creative Learning Spiral, developed by Mitchell Resnick (MIT Lifelong Kindergarten).
Parents, Schools, Home Educators and Clubs if you want to know more about how Neurons can help inspire young people to be creative, build on their creativity and develop independent learning skills then jump to the sections written for you. If you need more information then get in contact with us, there is always a member of the team around to help.