Summer Camp 2019
Designing a summer camp experience is hard but enjoyable and requires lots of work. Here at Marshmallow Minds, we have designed a way to brainstorm ideas and then convert the ideas into a lesson plan that is enjoyable for all ages.
Unity in Diversity
One of the most effective ways to start is by having a brainstorming session with a group of people of different backgrounds. Having different backgrounds is important because each of those people were raised differently and will thus have different views and ideas about a given topic thus making the session a more enriching experience.
Marshmallow Minds Ideation Group includes a diverse group of experts from different fields who share a common interest in early education:
Mrs. Anshul Agarwal, Founder of Raptor Minds
Mrs. Staci Yee, an elementary school teacher
Mr. Scott Buchholz, Google
Dr. Sreekanth Ramakrishnan, IBM
Mrs. Vrishali Modi, PTA leader/Real-Estate Agent
Board of Directors, Marshmallow Minds
Stay On Topic
You should always give a topic for brainstorming. Giving a topic helps to keep your ideas inside a certain boundary and helps you to stay focused. Our ideation topic was, “How might we make summer camp a unique, multi activity(STEAM +Creative writing + Mindfulness), blended, fun and holistic learning experience?”
Go For Volume
When you are brainstorming in a group, it is important to follow the rules of brainstorming. If everyone in the group is mindful of the rules, you will be surprised how effective and efficient your team can be in generating lots of ideas in a short amount of time!
In 20 minutes, we generated close to 60 ideas! That was a successful brainstorming session! Go team!
Zoom Out! Grouping and Voting
After you have generated many ideas, you have to group these ideas into different categories. You can come up with broad and general topics before narrowing down. You can also try to identify a common theme between all the ideas. Once the ideas are grouped, everyone gets to vote for two to three of their favorite ideas. From our grouping and voting exercise, our favorite common theme/connecting topic ended up being Around the World.
Focus on Human Values
At Marshmallow Minds, the heart of every STEAM lesson is an empathy based real-world story. We live in a connected world. We strongly believe that all children have the potential to become the heroes of their story when they connect with the world from their heart through empathy and apply their mind creatively, to solve challenges. By combining our ideas, we identified an empathy element for the STEAM projects. We also broke down our projects into design based and project based to give children a holistic learning experience.
Zoom In! Crafting Clarity
After zooming out and identifying the broad theme, Around the World, our final task was to zoom in and breakdown the details of the summer camp experience. We came up with the idea of splitting the broad idea, Around the World, into the six main continents. In each of these continents, we identified an iconic man-made landmark and a natural (an animal/plant) rich habitat. We then researched for an engineering focused design thinking based lesson for each of the landmarks and an artistic focused design thinking lesson for each of the flora and fauna habitats.
Once we gained clarity on the topics, our camp faculties came together to design a blended curriculum for STEAM, Creative Writing and Mindfulness Yoga. Every challenge for the summer camp has been designed to give the students an opportunity to empathize, explore and engineer creative solutions. Fun is the easiest way of changing people’s behavior for the better and we have mindfully incorporated fun throughout our camp experience.
You can learn more about our summer camp at https://www.marshmallowminds.org/summer-camp-information
(Posting by Ashwin Senthilvasan, student volunteer)