Finding your inner MacGyver

To save the day, I just need two pennies.
To save the day, I just need two pennies.

Remember the 80s? I do, after all I was born in 1978 so I was child of the 80s and a teen of the 90s. Just the other day we were getting together some costumes for “School’s Out” for our end of the year fun for elementary and we dressed up in some 80s clothes and styles. Well, I found a mullet wig, brown jacket and I had my dress shirt and kaki pants on. Everyone looked at me and went: “That is you in all senses.” Besides the miraculous recovery of my hair, I did look like Richard Dean Anderson from MacGyver. I loved the show growing up, I remember parking myself in front of the TV on Monday nights and later watching it in syndication in the 90s and watching the ultimate improvisor. What was so funny was that a few years ago on the TV show, Myth Busters they were recreating some of Mac’s biggest “life hacks” and only disproved a few of them and it was not because of they couldn’t work, they just don’t have the same result. An example was in the episode Blood Brothers were he used drain cleaner and phenolphthalein solution to make fake blood.
The problem is, that could never work because PHTH solution would turn pink, not red. Another was when he took his sweat shirt off, a fishing net and some oil to make a dummy drive a boat. Causing the bad guys to blow it up thinking it was him from a distance. Problem was, they used a zoom scope on the rocket launcher. You would have noticed that the boat had no front seat and the boat was veering to the left. Or How he used SAK to start a plane, that would not have magically made the oil and fuel resurge though the engine, TV everyone.

However, many of them were very true to life and we use that today, its called Pinterest and Educlipper. Being a big user of Maker Spaces and Genius Hour, I wanted my students to find their inner MacGyver in case they found them in situations where they had just some everyday items. I recently just replaced the sump pump in my basement. I used dish soap on the pipe to make the grommet slide perfectly without cutting the pipe and after replacing it checked for leaks since the water would have caused suds to form from the pump forcing water out. One time the lights went out and we were out of candles, used a small box of kid’s menu crayons in a glass tumbler to use. Six crayons, thirty minutes each for a working candle. Of course I didn’t tell students to take out their boxes and start burning them. However, its really easy to create, I found a tossed out megaphone and explained to the students what it was mad out of. Two raised their hands right away and explained there was a magnet in them and they could use it to test what’s magnetic. Two more quickly went on Educlipper and found how to turn them into flower pots or how to rewrap them and turn them into paper weights. There is their inner MacGyver right there. So, here is how you can do it.

1. If you have classroom student Pinterest or Educlipper accounts give students a task, real life situation. Shelf broken, ball that has a hole in it, trying to save a classroom lesson. They can use any plain items in the room and let them go.

2. Have the students use anything from Google Slides, Adobe Slate, Adobe Voice, Chatterpix and more on what the situation is and how they can fix it with their items.

3. Have fun, having students test their knowledge and create from something that seems so mundane will really trigger learning.


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