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Support the Students

Learning Objectives

After completing this unit, you’ll be able to:

  • Pinpoint the most effective ways to support students participating in the Future Trailblazer Challenge program.
  • Identify potential obstacles to the program.
  • List ways to support educators and volunteers helping participating in the program.

How to Support the Students

There are plenty of ways that you and your volunteer team can support the students participating in your Future Trailblazer Challenge. For one, set one day per week for you and your team to visit the classrooms—this is VITAL! We suggest that you and the volunteers spend at least 1-2 hours per week at the school. Of course, any additional time would be even more beneficial. 

Before starting the program, ask your volunteers to read the previous unit on running the Future Trailblazer Challenge, specifically the role descriptions and timeline. Also, point them to the downloadable Future Trailblazer Challenge curriculum and Student Handbook. These materials will help your volunteers understand what the students will be learning within the suggested timeline. 

Throughout the thirty-hour curriculum, there will be various opportunities for students to work together in their teams. You and the volunteers can float around the classroom and help the students brainstorm and think through their ideas, or just help to answer their questions if they look stuck.

A Salesforce volunteer working with middle school students in their classroom.

How to Support the Educators and Volunteers

Since this will most likely be the very first time your educators and volunteers have participated in a program like this, we recommend that you host both an Educator training and Volunteer training prior to the beginning of the thirty-hour curriculum. Trainings are a great way to get to know your educators and volunteers (if you don’t already) and answer questions they have about the program.

Here are some tips on how you can actively support your trusty partners:

For educators: If needed, order classroom materials; sync up with the educator each time you come to the school. For volunteers, have 30-min weekly sync ups; coordinate transportation such as carpooling or public transit; create a live team calendar to see who's attending each week. For both, host trainings that include: Introduction to the Future Trailblazer Challenge, Introduction to the Sustainable Development Goals, and, if applicable, 3D Printing Workshop.  Tip: Feel free to include some of the slides from the Future Trailblazer Challenge curriculum slide deck.

Challenges Are Inevitable, but Don’t Fret!

It might be overly optimistic to say that your program will run snag-free. A few challenges might pop up along the way, but with the support of your volunteers and educators, we are confident that you will be able to overcome any bumps in the road.

Here are some possible challenges and solutions.

Challenges
Solutions
Students aren’t engaged or motivated
  • Relate the SDGs to their local communities.
  • Ask students to identify role models who are proactively addressing sustainability concerns.
  • Show real-life examples of sustainable solutions that have turned into businesses and transformed communities. See a list of examples in the Resources section of this unit.
Educators feel overwhelmed with the content to be delivered in 30 hours
  • Condense some of the curriculum by going over the content with them and skip parts that aren’t essential.
  • Focus on one content area. For example, focus on 3D printing only or just electronics.
Volunteers aren’t participating regularly
  • Regroup with your volunteer team and decide on one day per week that at least 2-3 volunteers can visit the classroom.
    Pro tip: Not all volunteers have to attend each week. They can alternate weeks.
Students’ projects aren’t ready in time for the Maker Faire
  • If you or the volunteers notice that some teams may not be ready for the Faire, add an additional volunteer day for the last 1-2 weeks of the curriculum. During this time, volunteers can focus on supporting the teams that are behind and offer hands-on assistance with their projects.
  • It’s okay if everything isn’t polished for the Maker Faire. They can still make it shine. Focus on the idea and vision, and support them on pitching that. It’s part of the learning. Not everything gets completed on time in the real world either, but we still roll with it!

Resources