In April 2019, the Regina Catholic School Division was named the Grand Prize winner of the international Follett Challenge, earning them $60,000 in Follett products and services and making them the first ever Canadian winners.
Sherry Chase, Regina Catholic School District, ILS and Curriculum Coordinator, says that they knew they had something special in their Tinker Tubs, and the Follett Challenge provided the perfect opportunity to share the concept with the world.
“We were all all-in and super excited about the opportunity to highlight the work that was going on in our school division,” she says.
The Follett Challenge is a yearly education competition open to all schools in Canada, the United States and Australia. In order to enter, schools send both a written and video submission that demonstrates how they are preparing their students for the ever-changing demands of the 21st century. Each year, Follett chooses three finalists — one in each of the elementary school, middle school and high school categories — to take home $30,000 worth of Follett products and services. Then a grand prize winner is selected from those three to take home an additional $30,000 in products and services.
The RCSD’s Tinker Tubs were the 2019 winner. The tubs are a set of bins that contain a wide variety of materials, each based on a certain theme. Students then get together in teams and spend time trying to complete the objectives and solve the problems of that specific bin.
“The themes that we tried to identify were hitting lots of different areas that targeted our curriculum as well as different students interests,” explains Ms. Chase. “So that they could really start to think about different careers in the world that relate to some of these different skills and interests and passions that they might have.”
One example is their Media Creation bin. In it, students have the opportunity to use green screen technology, stop motion animation, and digital storytelling apps and programs.
“Some of the projects that they’ve created for that one are things like on-location weather reports and different stop-motion animation book reports and things like that,” says Ms. Chase.
Another is their Breakout Edu bin.
“That one really focuses in on critical thinking, so it has locks and books and different puzzles,” says Ms. Chase. “Students have to work as a team and do lots of problem solving.”
Ms. Chase says that everyone at the Regina Catholic School Division was extremely proud when they found out that they had won and very honoured to have been the first Canadian winners of the challenge. The funds will be used to expand and improve their Tinker Tubs.