When Pigs Fly, by Arah Allard, 3rd Grade Teacher at Del Mar Hills

posted Nov 13, 2017, 9:16 AM by Laura Spencer
Students brainstorming with their teacher
It’s happened.  Pigs are flying in room 14.

I wanted creative solutions. I asked the kids to think big, think wild.  We talked about how crazy ideas can lead to real solutions. Third graders are still so literal!

We are in solution groups now as we carry on with our design thinking challenge. Our needs statement:  “The living organisms in the lagoon need a way to mitigate the effects of erosion in order to survive and carry on their life cycles. ”  And yes- they know what mitigate means!  They crafted the statement.

The flurry of thinking that this prompted was amazing.  Filters sprouted arms to deal with sedimentation.  Sun powered suckers helped deal with extra dirt.  And of course, the pigs.  Why have a flying pig that scoops up the sedimentation? Because a wolf would be too heavy!  (real thinking here.)

While the pigs flew, something truly wonderful happened.  The students in the group with the pig person didn’t scoff, laugh, or belittle his idea.  They drew him in and folded his idea into theirs.  Soon, they were researching materials together- looking up magnesium and wondering if spider’s silk was really stronger than steel.  The questioning and learning were unlike anything I could have planned in a lesson.  Not to mention the compassion and teamwork.  Giving the students agency over their learning and freedom to let the pigs fly  allowed for this unique moment.

So, if you visit room 14 and see flying swine, know that so much is riding on those wings.

Original Blog Post on Arah's site, published with permission: http://arahallard.com/when-pigs-fly/