One of the activities that I like to do was inspired by the forced analogy process. For this activity, students are given a shoelace. I used to use pieces of yarn, but I have found that using colorful shoelaces (I ordered some from Amazon) are better because they are more durable, and they can be easily put in the wash.
As a hook, I often will give students the shoelace as they enter the classroom. This gives students a type of fidget, but it also sparks the curiosity of the brain.
I call this activity Shoelace Construction. This activity builds to challenge thinking, build community, and deepen conversations.
- Students are given a prompt: Using the shoelace, create a visual depicting your current thinking regarding_______________ and ______________.
- After students create their visuals, they share with an elbow partner.
- Students are given the next prompt: Now with a partner, combine your thinking into a new visual.
- After they create their visuals, they share with a neighboring pair.
- Students are given the final prompt: Join with another pair. As a group of four, create a visual that represents how________________ shapes our learning of ____________________.
The level of creativity is fun to watch. Students will often choose to get out of their seats and create a larger visual using their bodies and the shoelaces. The prompts can be used in a variety of ways as well as a formative assessment. The visuals + body connections enable students to solidify content to their memory. Taking snapshots of the creations can also be used to remind students of connections at a later date.