Product updates

Introducing Challenges

Abigail Africa

In the first few months since we invited families to Primer, we've seen amazing projects from kids all over the world. Kids are posting about their progress all the time, chiming in on each others' updates with feedback, questions, and encouragement. With our new Challenges, kids have a place to work together around exciting ideas and engage in structured, healthy competition.

Earlier this month, we got feedback from kids asking for more collaboration on Primer – one club member suggested that it would be fun to have a way to invite someone else to do a project:

We agreed – it would be fun to bake more collaboration into clubs! At the time, collaboration in Primer clubs meant exchanging feedback and questions, and we were intrigued by the idea of kids working in tandem, so we got to work designing new ways for kids to work more closely together.

Challenges

We believe kids should be able to learn and pursue whatever interests them, which is why we let kids and families determine which projects to do and when to do them. But we also believe that kids can learn a lot from working alongside each other – the guiding principle behind Challenges.

Challenges kick off with new prompts that drop every other Saturday. Kids have two weeks to complete and submit their work before the next Challenge. We encourage all club members to participate! The more participants a Challenge has, the better the Challenge becomes.

Each challenge lasts for two weeks – enough time for kids to plan and test an idea, get feedback, revise, and submit their work. The regular pacing helps Primer ensure that kids get a meaningful amount of time to overlap and work together. We've also found that two weeks is also a flexible enough timeline for parents who want to incorporate Primer into a structured learning schedule.

Challenges have a different structure than other Primer projects. When kids open a Challenge, they can click through Instructions, Submissions, and Discussions:

  • Instructions consist of a few paragraphs at most – enough to get big ideas going, but no constraining details about what the end product should look like! Kids are free to determine what success looks like for their project.
  • The Submissions tab will show a collection of submitted projects. If that area is a little bare, don't fret! Club members may be spending a little extra time on their projects before submitting, and kids can find updates on unfinished Challenges under the Community page of their club.
  • The Discussion tab is a place to chat freely about the current Challenge! Kids can use this space to collaborate, brainstorm, shout out each others' work, and exchange feedback. (Primer monitors these discussions to make sure that kids don't stray too far off-topic.)

We're especially excited for Challenges to show new club members the power of Primer's community. It can be overwhelming to join Primer and find a sea of potential projects to tackle, and Challenges will give your kids the perfect first step for joining any club on Primer.

Last week, we gave our first Challenge a test-run in Storytellers Club. We published a prompt to work together to create a newspaper, and the results were amazing. Here's a newspaper by four students: Iris, Lily, Ceci, and Rhythm (who also acted as Editor and laid out the paper).

Primer's pilot Challenge: "Make a collaborative newspaper"

Kids can start working on Challenges as soon as they log onto Primer. In fact, today's a great day to begin — new Challenges are arriving in each club tomorrow. The Challenge prompt will be at the top of the Projects tab of every club.

If your family hasn't tried Primer yet, now's the perfect time to join us — here's a sneak peak of what's dropping tomorrow:

Naturalists: Endangered animal anthology

Collaborate with the other members of the Naturalists club to choose different endangered animals species, research them while sharing what you learn, and create something to teach others about that animal.

Game-Makers: Unique video-game character

Compete in a friendly competition against other game-makers to come up with the most awesome and unique video game character.

Inventors: Mars base designs

A space program is taking requests for designs of a Mars base. Research the challenges of living on Mars, and create designs with pen and paper or 3D modeling to pitch your design and win the competition.

Storytellers: Primer newspaper, Issue #2

The Primer Times is producing its second issue! Calling all journalists, cartoonists, opinion writers, editors, and designers to contribute.

Artists: Handmade postcard

Create a postcard for a location that you are fond of — it could be a favorite local spot or a place you have traveled to. Write a short passage on the back and mail it to someone to brighten their day.

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