ClassDojo, the educational software developer has partnered up with Ad Astra, Elon Musk’s LA Private School in order to develop “Conundrums”, which are critical thinking puzzles. Despite the partnership, Ad Astra will not use the tool, and only helps with its development. The Conundrums offer ethics challenges and open-ended critical thinking, and they address question not normally encountered in a standard curriculum for middle school and elementary students.
Before starting the puzzle, students are reminded to be respectful of each other when discussing the conundrum and to remain open-minded, as there is no right answer. One of the puzzles addresses the issues of property rights. A group of cartoon characters have discovered a dinosaur skeleton on their neighbor’s land. Once they start the Conundrum exercise they learn more about the premise, and that a group of cartoon characters, a farmer and Yosemite National Park all have valid claims to the dinosaur skeleton, and the student will have to decide who it belongs to.
The teacher’s menu allows them to add new aspects and twist the situation. Each outcome adds a layer to what was already a difficult scenario in regards to questions about ownership. Another similar Conundrum poses the question if a cartoon character is entitled to paint over the Mona Lisa after buying it. The app provides context for the issue, making the importance of the painting clear, and asking if Mojo has the right to basically destroy an important piece of Western history. The Conundrum poses questions about limits of property rights, which is a relatively advanced concept for students in the elementary and middle school.
After students finish discussing the issue, the app suggests they reflect on the exercise, and the conundrum concludes by giving the option to share the results with the parents via the ClassDojo app. ClassDojo was launched in 2011 and is among the most widely used platforms that allows students, parents, and teachers to connect and help build a community. The app allows sharing of students reports, but its main aim is to assist skill development, as well as character building among students. Find out more about CLassDojo: https://betterlesson.com/blended-learning/strategy/4575/