My Story of Innovation and Discomfort

Posted on: October 22nd, 2015 by lschwartz No Comments

Driving home from the pumpkin patch a few Sundays ago, my daughter, Sarah,  announced that she was going to make a vending machine out of cardboard.  My inside voice was thinking, “That’s never going to work.”  My outside voice asked, “Can you tell me more about that, what materials will you need?”

After some discussion about materials, she decided that maybe a game would be more manageable.  At this point, I told her about the video Caine’s Arcade and the cardboard challenge that continues in schools every year.

Sarah spent the rest of that Sunday afternoon creating, not one, but three games out of cardboard and other materials around the house.  Mostly independently, but with a little help from her Dad for the finishing touches.

She created a ball drop game:


Using my kitchen tongs, she created her favourite, “The Claw” game.



Finally she used some plastic cups to create a game where you had to shoot a ping pong ball into a cup and there were point cards in each cups.


Inspired by Caine’s arcade, she created her own play passes and play pass slots and we had to hunt down tickets at our local dollar store.

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You might be wondering why this is on my work blog and not a personal blog.  Yes it is a proud moment for me, but I also made so many work connections to the events of that Sunday afternoon.

1.  One of reasons Sarah felt that this kind of project was possible was because of the possibilities she is being exposed to at school. The importance for students to be given the time and spaceto see what is possible.

2. This is the kind of project that fits in so well with B.C.’s new curriculum documents that many educators are using and playing with this year.  It was cross curricular in nature.  There was literacy, math and those important competencies (communication, thinking and personal/social). I witnessed Sarah being creative in her creation of the games, but also being critical when having to solve problems when certain aspects of her games were not working.

3.  It is not lost on me, that I was very uncomfortable at several times during this whole process.  Discomfort because I wasn’t sure where this was going.  Discomfort because I didn’t know if I knew how to help her. It is the fear of being vulnerable in the face of change.  Even discomfort in writing this for fear people might see me as less than capable.  Working with teachers and the new curriculum on a daily basis, I may not be alone with some of these fears.

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