At the end of the first season of our engineering design challenge recently, we asked each member of the 22 teams about the experience. What did they learn? What obstacles did they overcome as they built their Rube Goldberg Machine together?
Here are some quotes from the youth participants in this year's challenge:
"Some challenges we faced as a team was at first we all came with our one idea, and a lot of us weren't willing to compromise ... but we did overcame that challenge by learning to compromise, and everybody had a voice in this machine, so it was lot of fun." "I was also like that there were ideas, like you would think in a totally different way for some of them. But then, their idea would work much better in that situation, so it's more of a teamwork thing than single person thing."Teamwork is never easy, even for adults. Youth get frustrated when others don't do things their way. To help youth work as a team, one strategy that adult leaders can take is to ask the youth to take turns presenting their ideas, and then choose together which one of them they want to work on. What other strategies have you used to encourage youth to work as a team, such as in the engineering design challenge?
"We all problem-solved and agreed on every step, so it was a team decision. We had to compromise on some things, but in the end, we got what we wanted, I think."
"Yeah, there were some problems ... like we sort of didn't know who would pour the water into the cup, so we were like, 'who could do that?' So we found out we could take turns. "To design and build their machine, the teams needed to learn how to work together, which means they need to respect other people's ideas and compromise sometimes. From my observation and talking with adult volunteers, teams can spend months figuring out how to work as a team.
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