Luck of the Irish…

…or How I Juiced-up a Tried and True Activity to Help Me Meet My Goals.


In my first post on grit I reflected on what I felt I could do better.  Two of my goals was to improve my STEM activity to promote the trial and redesign process and to create more authentic assignments.

Today we did our Leprechaun Traps.  Now, I know – I know – St. Patrick’s Day is next week.  However after the “big test” we needed to do something fun.

However, I didn’t want it to be a throw-away activity.  I ain’t got time for that!

The fact that we are trying to capture a very wily leprechaun didn’t lend itself well to the test and redesign process, but I saw an opportunity for authentic learning.  Goal #2.

We did it as a mini-PBL.  We set an essential question:  How can I design a trap that will trap a leprechaun?  We brainstormed what we needed to know in order to answer that question. We did a close reading activity of an “Informational Text” on leprechauns to answer those questions.  They had to pull facts from the article that they could use in their design and explain how they would incorporate that information in their trap design.

The POURED over that text.  They read closely, and deeply.  It said they were cobblers, they learned that was a shoe maker – they could disguise their trap as a shoe shop! Vocabulary, comprehension, application…  Bring it on!!

They built their traps, and through the working buzz – I overheard them cite the text while working with their friends.  (“It said they like logs, so I colored this tube to look like a log”  I heard that.  I ACTUALLY heard that!)

And then we tied it into our current Opinion writing unit and I gave them choices – a letter to a company, a script for a commercial, a brochure – that explains why their trap has an effective design.

And I know that it’s not about the grades – but I was able to take a reading grade by scoring their traps based on if they demonstrated close reading and comprehension by incorporating facts from the text as well as a writing grade from their opinion piece.

It might not have used technology – but no doubt they were engaged and motivated!

I’m including the materials that I created for this – enjoy…  Leprechaun Trap PBL


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