Paper airplanes and Podcasts: demonstration writing

Today we had our intro to our demonstration writing unit. In this unit, students will be writing and recording a podcast that will give directions for someone to create something. Students will be creating something from our classroom makerspace, then other students will listen to the podcast and try to follow the directions in order to make the same product.

This should be really fun. Students are getting to use their creativity in the makerspace. They are practicing communication skills by having to write and then record clear directions. They are also learning how to make and share podcasts. We’ll be using for the recording aspect and then just Google Classroom for sharing them.

As our intro for the unit today, students made paper airplanes and tried to write directions for other students to make the same airplane. These were the steps:

  • Students made their own airplane
  • They then wrote out directions for how to make the airplane
  • In pairs, students were only allowed to read the exact directions that they had written while another student tried to follow the directions and make the airplanes
  • Everyone then reflected and fixed their directions

Of course, there were many failures and many iterations of directions. We also ended the class period by having a contest to see whose airplane flew the farthest. It was a very fun day! Students really learned some valuable lessons about specificity, time order, as well as iteration and how failure can be helpful for success.


Update: End of the unit

We’ve had such a great time with this unit. Here were the rest of the steps we went through.

  1. Students made something from the makerspace. They kept notes while they were making the project. We had some awesome things made out of everything.
  2. Students then wrote scripts for their podcasts in a Google Doc. We emphasized that they were making their own show. Kids really brought their personalities into it and had so much fun.
  3. We then had a recording day. Students used two websites, and Audioboom to record the podcasts.
  4. After all the podcasts were recorded, students listened to at least 3 other podcasts and gave feedback to those peers using email. Students really enjoyed sending each other emails and receiving feedback that way.
  5. The next day was students actually creating at least one other project based on the podcasts. Students sent email feedback this time through email as well. They had so much fun and really learned how difficult the process could be.
  6. Lastly, students self-reflected in a rubric on Google Sheets.



Author: karinhogen

I teach middle school language arts and run an Edtech company, DocentEDU, on the side. Every day is an adventure in my classroom with technology!

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