Getting creative for a bit of animal project motivation.
Kids get school projects all the time, it’s just part of life. More often than not, they will get handed a worksheet and be asked to merely fill in the required information. This is exactly the type of assignment I was looking at this week. Pick an animal, write a few facts down, then recite the facts to the class. Not the most difficult work, but definitely not the most engaging or meaningful either. In learning, that true engagement is key. That is why I forgot many (non-art related) things I “learned” in school, even college. The information wasn’t made valuable or relevant to me other than I’d have a test eventually. It’s the difference between rote memorization and meaningful, valuable learning.
So, the trick here was to figure out a way to make the project more meaningful, something that it would last with the kid longer than a day. That’s the life-long learner and former teacher in me. What I came up with was a cool little movie about cows (that’s the animal he wanted to do) that mixed learning with a bit of humor, making it more exciting and memorable than just scrawling a few words onto a worksheet. I figured since he likes movies so much, it was about time he got a taste of what it takes to make one. We had actors, a producer and a director. Everyone in the house had a job, even the dog. I even made a few props to use. Our producer has been hard at work editing the film and it looks great so far. This was more than a simple school project, it was a learning and bonding experience for all of us.
By the way, cows have 4 chambers in their stomachs.