Back at ETSI, we offered a class on the Maker Movement, which included several samples of things you might do in a Makerspace or Learning Commons. One example was the Cardboard Challenge. The Cardboard Challenge is an international movement that sprang from the endeavors of a young man named Caine, who built an entire arcade out of cardboard. You can learn more about Caine at the Caine's Arcade website. Don't miss the movie on that site - I get goosebumps just about every time I watch it. From this chance meeting between Caine and Nirvan Mullick, an amateur filmmaker, the Imagination Foundation was born, and since its inception just a couple of years ago, hundreds of thousands of kids have been inspired to create with cardboard. At ETSI, teachers had a chance to explore with cardboard on their own - and one teacher in particular began to dream.
So today, after weeks and weeks of planning, one of the schools in our district hosted the first-ever Cardboard Challenge in our fair city. It was an amazing day! Over 300 people showed up, representing 17 schools. There were toddlers, college students, and grandparents present - and every age in between. To say it was a success would be grossly understating the outcome.
I could talk all day long about what I saw, like the amazing imaginations or the heart-warming intergenerational interactions, but I thought I would focus instead on what I DIDN'T see at the Cardboard Challenge:
I didn't see anyone not being able to make up their mind about what they wanted to build. I didn't hear anyone say, "I don't know what to do" or "I'm just not very creative." Kids (and grown-ups, too!) just jumped in and started creating.
I didn't see any prizes given for the best or biggest or prettiest creation. The satisfaction came just from the doing, not from any award or prize.
I didn't see anyone being grossly competitive; I didn't see anyone bored or complaining or unhappy. I didn't see a tear shed, or even a small frown. Most people looked like this:
Or, at the very least, like this:
Here is just a SMALL sampling of some of the amazing creations:
And there is a wonderful stop-motion video here (I wish I had made it, but I didn't - thanks to Becca for sharing!)
I am feeling pretty darned good about the state of the world after this event. If you were there, you know what I mean. If you couldn't make it - well, I really hope you don't miss it next year. I have a feeling this is the start of something BIG!