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Banishing Boredom

A new series of activities, prompts, and thinking routines to help create a learning-rich environment at home
Children's art and buidling materials layed out on floor

Without the structure and resources of a classroom, supporting learning and providing experiences that foster creativity, enable social-emotional growth, or promote an understanding of complexity can be challenging for parents and educators. However, research around learning has long held that our everyday experiences are also sources of rich and complex ideas, just waiting to be explored.

Project Zero at HGSE has always provided educators with research and resources that nurture a child’s creativity, agency, and connection to their surrounding communities. To support the development of rich learning environments and experiences today — at home and in remote classrooms — experts at Project Zero have compiled a series of resources for learners in preschool through high school.

Here are three activities, adaptable for students in preK through 12th grade, to get you started.

Think, feel, care

A Project Zero thinking routine that encourages children of all ages to consider the world from a new perspective, in order to generate new ideas and questions.

Choose a system that involves several people. Select one person from the system and ask:

  • What does this person do in the system? How do you know?
  • If you were this person, how would you feel? Why would you feel that way?
  • If you were this person, what would you care about? What would be important to you?

Choose a different person from the system and ask the questions again, to gain a different perspective.

Documenting the everyday

Adapted from the Out of Eden Learn initiative, this activity has young people collect information and document a routine or a place that seems normal or well known to them. It guides students to pull this information together in a story, slide show, or drawing and then share it with others. This is an opportunity to look more deeply at one's own ordinary surroundings, to notice, and to illuminate one's own life for other people.

Imagine if

A Project Zero thinking routine that poses a series of questions to prompt creativity. Parents and educators can use these to deepen work on an existing project or spark excitement and new thinking about an ordinary object or system.

The questions encourage students to think about how that object or system could be made to be more effective, more efficient, and more ethical, among other considerations. It's an activity that can be used alongside other maker-centered learning resources from the Agency by Design initiative, which can help young people explore both the wide-open, unlimited possibilities of improvement or change and also how to make something work better within the confines of an existing design.

Other resources in the Project Zero series include observational drawings, ways to connect history with our lives today, and discussion frameworks for high schoolers and middle schoolers around social media. The site will be updated with additional resources in the coming weeks.

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