In 2008, the IFC launched its current project, the Dream Rocket. The Dream Rocket project is a large scale collaborative fiber wrap. Up to 8,000 fiber panels will be created by individuals from various regions of the world, and then combined to wrap the Saturn V Moon Rocket in Huntsville, Alabama. The designated theme of the panels, “Dare to Dream”, challenges individuals to expand beyond the present state of the world and imagine the future. Perhaps most importantly, individuals are challenged to imagine their contribution to that future. These individual dreams and aspirations will combine to create a monumental work of fiber art of unprecedented size, providing a tangible demonstration of the beauty of individuals collaborating to meet universal challenges.
*I chose 2nd and 3rd grade students because of our schedule. This project is NOT just for elementary students, and not just for schools. A lot of community groups representing all ages have participated.
The basic idea of the Dream Rocket project is that students work collaboratively to create 2x2 foot panels based on one of many "dream themes". The suggested themes include Space, Imagination, Art, Music, Science, Conservation, My Favorite Story, etc.
I decided that there would be 3 projects for each 2nd and 3rd grade class which made a total of 15 for 3rd grade and 21 for 2nd. I showed some example panels off the Dream Rocket website and explained that we would be participating before the students started brainstorming ideas. I pulled up a blank document in Microsoft Word and typed their ideas. I asked each class to pick one for "My Favorite Story" since there is a chance the local library could pick one to display on their Bookmobile. Brainstorming ideas before splitting into groups let me make suggestions and offer guidance, and combine similar ideas. The students voted until there were three themes standing, then I assigned a theme to a location in the room and the students split themselves into equal groups.
I'm not sure if this was the best idea overall. I had a lot of bad combinations of students put themselves in the same group. Though the 3rd graders handled the group project better than most 2nd graders, it made for a pretty frustrating month. I spent half of my time trying to mediate disputes and I was really thankful for the help of Paras when they were assigned to a class in the Art room.
Here are some of the more successful panels, the ones where the students found a way to work together and make compromise. Some of the other panels... well, let's just say you can tell there were a few too many "bosses" in those groups. Looking back now that I've had some recovery time, I'm glad we participated, excited that the students' artwork will help cover a real rocket, and not in a big hurry to work on a primary grade group project for a while! :)