A 21st Century Fluencies Activity That Does Not Involve Technology

The Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board does a fantastic job of addressing the 21st Century Fluencies without making these fluencies all about technology. While I’m fortunate enough to have access to technology in the classroom, there’s also a lot of value in embedding these five fluencies (solution fluency, information fluency, creative fluency, media fluency, and collaboration fluency) into the classroom program without the use of technology. Watching my students at work today reminded me of this.

For Science today, the Grade 1 students were challenged to make a toy that moves using an energy source of their choice, and the Grade 2 students were challenged to make a toy that floats on water. For the past couple of weeks, students have been bringing in recyclable materials to use to create their toy. On Tuesday, they planned what they were going to do, reflecting on why they thought that their plan would work.

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Today was building day! Throughout the process, students were encouraged to think, reflect, and even change their plan, but they also needed to make note of why they chose to do so.

Wow! For this activity, students didn’t touch a computer, an iPad, an iPod Touch, or a Livescribe Pen, but what they learned and shared here was incredible. (Check out the student blogs later for videos of the different “toy tests” from today.) With just the use of recyclable materials, scissors, tape, and glue, we addressed all five fluencies through this single activity.

1) Students had to solve the problem of making a toy that would work, and then adjust their plans when the toy didn’t work (solution fluency).

2) Students had to apply the information that they learned about energy (Grade 1) and liquids and solids (Grade 2), and then decide how to use this information to meet today’s challenge (information fluency).

3) Students created three-dimensional works of art in the toys that they made today (creative fluency).

4) Students recorded what they learned throughout the process and then shared their recordings with a larger audience through their blogs (media fluency).

5) Students collaborated with each other to design their toys and solve problems throughout the process (collaboration fluency).

The best part was listening to the student reflections at the end of the activity. All of the children did a great job of explaining why they did what they did. Listening to their explanations also tell me how much they understand about energy, liquids, and solids. (I particularly love the discussion that begins at 7 minutes and 2 seconds when my students talk about the value of collaboration. Priceless!)

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Have you ever done an activity before that involved the use of 21st century fluencies without the use of technology? What were the results? I’d love to hear what you have to share!


11 thoughts on “A 21st Century Fluencies Activity That Does Not Involve Technology

  1. Well done Aviva. While technology is useful to 21 C fluencies, the foundation for these rests in thinking, developing ideas, experimenting and reflecting critically on what has been learned. Thanks for sharing this post.

  2. Great job Aviva! I plan to have some of the teachers I work with start following you and the work you are doing! Exciting changes happening at my districts!

    You are a credit to the profession!

    Great job kiddos (too)!

    • Thanks for the comment, Anna! You’re right: students did learn a lot if they had to go back and make changes. I really encouraged them to do so too, and I’m so glad that they did. Today was a fantastic day!


  3. Wow! The class did an amazing job throughout the whole process from the planning stage right through to the problem solving. That is what science is all about. And it sure looked like a lot of fun was had by all. Way to go! Sharon

    • Thanks for the comment, Sharon! I was really proud of all of the students too. It was great to see them thinking of a solution, trying it out, and then making changes when needed. Today was a fantastic day!


  4. Pingback: Game-based Learning and Technology Literacy | Thoughts and Reflections

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