Three-Tiered Bunk Beds

“Innovation can’t be taught, it must be learned!”

It is a rather difficult concept to wrap your mind around if you think about it. How do you teach students, parents and teachers to think creatively? How do you teach outside-the-box ideas? Is this even possible?

It seems as though education has decided that this is impossible or simply not to think about the possibility of opening and widening curriculum to include genuine, authentic, real world learning experiences. In fact, many schools are going so far as to stifle and limit innovation from teachers and students.

What I learned is that young Americans learn how to innovate most often despite their schooling—not because of it.

Students aren’t looking to schools and teachers to teach them, rather they are looking for ways out of school so that they can teach themselves by exploring and building and experimenting.

I can remember in college in the midst of a snow storm that had cancelled classes, that we got the bright idea to create a three-tiered bunk bed because two was just too predictable. We walked across the hall and commandeered the top bunk of the neighboring room (because we had roughly measured and concluded that it would be impossible to put a bottom bunk on top because the rails were too long) and worked together to place it on top of the other top bunk.

Once it was stable, we crawled in! The person in the middle and the person on top couldn’t even sit up because the beds were so tight to each other and the ceiling, but it formed a cozy hideout.

We collaborated, we analyzed, we measured and remeasured and eventually created something new. That experience is nestled inside my mind. Can you say that about your last lesson with your students?