Today authentic and real-world academic success may be attained by focusing student efforts on solving the impossible, e.g. by tackling a “blue-sky” problem. Removing plastic waste from our oceans, decreasing global warming, removing orbital debris, or terraforming Mars are examples of these stretch projects. The educator specific “blue-sky” effort of this author is the formation of an engineering team comprised of 10-13-year-old students who have designed, tested, and will soon fly a spacecraft with a biotechnology experiment.
To coalesce student efforts around “doing the impossible’ is both rewarding and challenging from the educator’s perspective;
additionally, the involved students often find it efficacious and inspirational. One of the more valuable lessons learned by students engaged in a “blue-sky project” is that of embracing failure. Missing the mark on a task is inevitable, occurs often, and is expected. Failing serves as the basis for promoting improvements on both an individual and team basis.
View Paper – BLUE-SKY Learning