SparkTruck: A Creative Workshop for Kids

October 20, 2013

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. innovative [IN-uh-vey-tiv] (adj.) – showing new ideas or methods
Example: The young boy received a medal for his innovative idea that sparked creativity in the school.
2. hands-on [handz-on, -awn] (adj.) – having direct or actual participation in something
Example: The teachers held a hands-on Science class filled with experiments that kids can participate in.

3. prototype [PROH-tuh-tahyp] (n.) – the first or original model of a creation or invention
Example: The young inventor used the prototype as a model for future inventions.

4. brainstorm [BREYN-stawrm] (v.) – to think of plans or create ideas
Example: The coach gathered the team members to brainstorm for strategies for the next game.

5. fund [fuhnd] (v.) – to provide money
Example: The school asked various companies to fund and sponsor its upcoming school fair.


Read the text below.

Stanford students, together with students from three other colleges in California, are working on an innovative learning environment for kids using an "educational build mobile."  

The educational build mobile called SparkTruck is a truck that offers hands-on learning workshops for children. After its launch last year, the team took the SparkTruck on a two-month trip across the US and gave workshops to almost 3,000 children along the way.

This year, the team is trying to be more creative as they stop over Washington, where children showed enthusiasm for the project.

According to Bengi Kuroda, the project aims to bring creativity and design workshops to children. The team gives prototype tools and materials that children can work on.

The children begin the workshop by brainstorming ideas. Then, they work on building a prototype of whatever they have conceptualized. The children also learn about Lego robots and get to try out high-tech gadgets such as a 3D printer and a laser cutter.

The SparkTruck is partly funded by Kickstarter, a crowd-funding site, and some corporate donations. Phyllis Klein, owner of Fab Lab DC who hosted the Washington Workshop, says that the SparkTruck encourages the children's imagination and shows them that their concepts can materialize.

The team of volunteers knows that being on the road for two months has its challenges. Nonetheless, the volunteers still hope that they can continue sharing this journey and experience by using more SparkTrucks in the future.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         Do you think mobile learning environments are effective in teaching kids? Why or why not?
·         What are the advantages and disadvantages of mobile learning environments over traditional schools? Please explain your answers.

Discussion B

·         How can creativity be encouraged among children? Please explain your answer.
·         Is creativity important in a child’s future success? Why do you think so?


October 20, 2013