This is the elementary and middle school version of growth mindset activity #3: Mistakes as puzzle pieces. There are 3 parts to this growth mindset activity. To assign the activity to your class, assign all 3 parts. 

When mistakes are harmful

Here are three common ways we allow mistakes to hurt our learning process:
1. We get discouraged. A mistake triggers our fixed mindset voice, and we get frustrated or give up.
It’s a missed opportunity if we don’t course correct when we hear thoughts such as “I’ll never be good at this” or “I’m just not a math person”.
Sad Thinky Pinky
2. We don't reflect on our mistakes. We ignore the mistake or don’t spend time reflecting on why it happened. This is a missed opportunity to understand a mistake and avoid making it again!
Thinky Pinky not reflecting
3. We avoid taking risks or doing tasks we've made mistakes in before. We avoid situations because we don’t want to make mistakes again, and then we miss out on learning opportunities.
Thinky Pinky avoiding risks

Take a moment to reflect.

What is one mistake you’ve made recently even though you tried your best?
A mistake I made recently even though I tried my best was __.
How did you react to the mistake?
After I made the mistake, I __.
Did your reaction to making the mistake help or stop you from trying again?
My reaction of __ (helped/stopped) me from trying again because __.

Learning from mistakes

When Thinky Pinky thinks in a growth mindset, he remembers that mistakes are a normal part of the learning process. When he makes mistakes, he often gets excited because the mistake is a hint about what he needs to learn to get smarter.
Picture your brain as a puzzle. Mistakes are the gaps where puzzle pieces are missing.
Thinky Pinky missing puzzle piece
By reflecting on and investigating your mistakes, you can complete your puzzle and continue learning.
Thinky Pinky with all puzzle pieces
Don’t give up on completing the puzzle. If we don’t pay attention to our mistakes, we’re much more likely to repeat them, which slows down the learning process and progress toward our goals.
Also, sometimes the concepts we are learning in school are just plain difficult and we need to try and fail a few times before we finally get it right.
You have completed part 2 of 3 for this activity.
These activities are part of the LearnStorm 2018 program and you will earn a badge and LearnStorm progress for your class for completing all 3 parts of an activity.