Our theory program for Year 10 in Semester 1 is called “Party without Pain”. It deals with the intersection of multiple risk factors when celebrating, and hopefully leaves the students with a better understanding of the concept of “celebrating safely”.
One of the risk factors we cover is road safety. Trying to make this concept interesting and providing the students with an authentic way to demonstrate their understanding can be tough. I like the impact of visuals on learning, but the number of road safety ads in the media means the opportunity for exposure to new, interesting visuals is pretty low. So it struck me… why not invite the kids make their own?
Thinking about it, I decided to base my idea on Tropfest, the “World’s Largest Short Film Festival”. I liked the Tropfest concept for a couple of reasons – the films are necessarily short, and they have something called a TSI (Tropfest Signature Item). More on the TSI later.
So our work in this class looked like this.
I explained that as a way to show me what they understood about our topic, they would be making movies with a road safety focus (there were some concerned looks at this point..), revolving around some specific themes, using the Tropfest model. I showed them the Tropfest site, and this movie. (We struggled to see the TSI (a balloon) – can you?)
We had already explored some road safety issues prior to this lesson and so had a bit of an idea of what managing risk on the roads meant. The question we posed for this lesson was “What are some important road safety questions that still need to be answered?”
The kids formed groups, discussed the question amongst themselves and then on mini whiteboards posed their important questions.
These are some of their responses:
Why do people speed?
Why are young people in so many crashes?
What are the risk most associated with crashes?
Are cars to blame?
What happens after an accident?
We then talked about these questions, and the concepts that the questions distilled down to. We came up with the following: Cars, Sad, Risk, Shock, Stupid, Angry, Tired.
The groups picked a word from the concept list. This word would be their film title and theme. The film also had to include an ESI (Erina Signature Item). In this case the ESI is a set of traffic lights. The ESI can be used in any way.
The task is to create a short movie, using the theme as focus, with road safety as the general setting. Each film has to have the ESI somewhere in there too. They can use their phones to shoot footage (or any camera for that matter) and the software on their DER laptops will be fine to edit, compile and publish their final product. A storyboard of their synopsis (as a draft of their work) is required as well.
The production buzz in the room was cool once they knew what they had to do. Ideas and laughter flowed – two things that I really value in a learning environment!
But the proof is always in the pudding. I’m interested to see what the kids make of it. I’ll let you know how opening night at the Erina Road Safety Film Festival goes.