Failure & Flexibility

“Failure is instructive. The person who really thinks learns quite as much from his failures as from his successes.” ~John Dewey

I saw this terrific idea on Pinterest and shared it with my grade level team this week as we were planning out something special for our students on Earth Day. In theory, it sounded great! Plant seeds in ice cream cones and then put the biodegradable cone in the ground when the seedlings are ready. Cool!

Everyone was so excited as we gathered three classes of third graders under an outside pavilion to plant our special pots in celebration of planet Earth! Of course, I grabbed my camera to capture the moment. The planting part went smoothly. Then we all returned to our classrooms to add the last ingredient. . . WATER!

Okay, so the ice cream cones did not exactly like the water very much. Picture this. All of the cones were originally standing upright in two plastic tubs. We added a small amount of water to each cone, and within minutes the cones started to shrivel and shrink. They pretty much turned to mush right before our very eyes!

Luckily, I had some cups in my cabinet and we were able to quickly transfer the cones into cups. We laughed so hard at ourselves as the bottoms fell out and our classroom turned into a mess of potting soil and gooey dough! I had a palm to forehead reaction as I thought about the many times in my life when drippy, wet ice cream caused soggy ice cream cones to collapse. Why did this not occur to me when I saw that awesome picture of the dry ice cream cone with a beautiful seedling sprouting from the top?

One of the lessons we learned today is that water makes ice cream cones disintegrate.  We also learned that you can’t believe everything you see and read on the Internet. Most importantly, we learned about the importance of flexibility in teaching and learning.

Thankfully, the rest of our day was a big success! My students are making these fun Earth Day circle books

I found this free Brain Pop video that fits perfectly with this project. It gave the kids lots of ideas about how to reduce, reuse, and recycle.

Happy Earth Day everyone! If you were unable to fit Earth Day into your plans today, you can teach about conservation any day of the year! If you decide to plant seeds, just remember to plant them in something other than ice cream cones. ;-)

1 Comment

  1. Everyone deServes to Learn
    April 23, 2015 / 11:39 am

    How funny! I want to say I can't believe they disintegrated, but I believe it now!! Glad your kids were good sports!-Maria

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