Helping Kids Get Started

Sparkables Design Process Inspiration Cards

Every day kids are given assignments and told to imagine, solve, and create. Getting started though is often the hardest part. Students can get easily frustrated and even give up when a new assignment is at hand. So how do we help them get started?

Sparkables Design Process Inspiration Cards help students build the bridge between frustration and success. Using this set of word and photo cards along with the Design Process can inspire original ideas for inventions and projects. Sparkables can be used with a number of subjects including language arts story starters, math word problems, science experiments, art designs, and more.

Many teachers use the Sparkables cards to design, create and make with recyclable materials and leftover cardboard for project-based learning. By having students choose a photo card and word card they have a focus to get started on any assignment.

Inspiring the Design Process

One thing we love about Sparkables is how open ended the tool is and how it can fit into any space. Check out this video discussing Sparkables and how the Design Process can fit into your learning environment!
TechTerra Education: Sparkables Overview

Think About and Create Activity

Take Sparkables for a spin! One easy way to introduce Sparkables to learners of all ages is through storytelling. Whether written or acted out, have your student randomly draw a Sparkables word card and a Sparkables picture card. Give a minute or two for your student to examine the cards. Next have your student give an impromptu talk or write a quick story connecting the two cards.

In the photo below we challenged a group of Kindergarteners to create a story about a hypothetical situation in which dogs took over the local bus system. We had a lot of fun hearing about dogs wearing sunglasses, going to the grocery store, and even how they would make the buses more dog-friendly for the future.

Download the sample cards and get started!

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More Ideas to Help Kids Get Started

Kids often struggle to get started on an endeavor. Whether they're cleaning their room, doing chores, or working on schoolwork the hardest part can be just getting started. Here are our top five tips for getting started:

  1. Make physical space "work ready". In the case of schoolwork, clearing a table space to work helps facilitate focus. Clutter is distracting.
  2. Provide choice and voice. Students can feel a lack of control or direction in their learning. Providing choices such as subject of assignments, order of assignments, even theme, allows students to have real ownership. This can lead to a willingness to participate and get started.
  3. Scaffolding work. It is helpful for kids to break assignments and projects down into bite-sized steps.
  4. Motivate, don't frustrate. It can be frustrating to be the grownup supervising work completion. Staying calm and encouraging will likely be motivation for your child to get working.
  5. Plan for breaks. Time management is challenging, more so now than ever. Getting started is more compelling with a clear plan for frequent breaks and activity changes.

Now Open - TechTerra's Online STEM Academy

If you're looking for more resources, make sure to check out our Online STEM Academy.

Our 12 week program is grade-specific (ranging from Pre-K all the way to eighth grade) and includes extra, self-paced activities and worksheets for your students to complete. No extra tools needed, just your student and a computer or tablet!

This week, the Pre-K students did a mapping activity and coded a walk to the dog park with one of our teachers. Check out the pictures below!

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