Did you ever have a challenge that was so much fun that you had to tell someone?  Today, I had two visitors to my office to talk about FRED, the great 5th grade challenge.
Sallisa and Aiden, both 5th graders, provided their awesome experience in detail – and with much excitement.
Students in Mrs. Woytus’ class were separated into groups of 3, with each member receiving a paperclip.   She explained that their task would be to SAVE FRED.  Of course, the students were asking, “Who’s Fred?  We don’t know anyone named Fred!”
The story goes, that Fred was on an ocean adventure, sailing the seas, when his boat capsized and he lost his lifesaver.  Unfortunately, the lifesaver ended up under the capsized boat, with Fred perched on top of the boat’s underside (which was above water level, thank goodness.)  Their challenge was to get Fred off the boat and into the lifesaver (which had a very small hole to fit into), and then be placed inside the upright boat without using their hands at all.
Each member was given a sheet of paper with three questions:  
1.     What do you think will happen?
2.    What steps do you think will be used to solve the situation?
3.    What is your hypothesis on accomplishing this task?
Then, after they completed their answers, Mrs. Woytus introduced them to Fred, their group’s gummy worm!!! Each group also received a candy Lifesaver and a small plastic cup to re-enact the ocean’s scene…capsized boat, lifesaver under boat, Fred the gummy worm on top of the boat’s underside.
The groups thought carefully, knowing that each of them had a paperclip.  They began the thinking of how to achieve the tasks at hand.  It was especially difficult to figure out how to place Fred in the lifesaver hole. 
But eventually, each group realized that if each of them used their own paperclip and worked as a group, they could take Fred off the boat, turn the boat over, and then place Fred in the lifesaver and then back in the boat. 
Lesson learned:  Working together gets things accomplished.

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