Sunday, July 08, 2012

Splish Splash Musings...

As I was swishing my feet in the warm waters at these past few days (SO RELAXING and FUN), I was obviously thinking about school. I'd just been looking at a book that contained one of those ink drawings that fascinates me. Something like this.

I'm awed that you can create something with just different lines that are closer or farther or hatched or such. Then my next thought was that I could never do that. Then my next next thought was, ah HAH I'm being just like the kids and don't want to even attempt something because I immediately don't know how to do it right off the bat. I didn't want to tinker.

Then I came up with "Tinker Time". I haven't fleshed it all out yet, but I'm thinking of creating about 12 little 5 minute activities for the kids to do at the start of math class. The activities don't necessarily have to be about math, and the object is not to perfect some skill, but the point is to dive in and get your hands dirty and try something and then reflect on what happened. Ultimately, getting the students to not be afraid to tinker, basically, and hopefully that will translate into applying those brave skills to tinkering with math problems. I thought we could do them once a week, and then cycle around to the same activity 2 more times during the school year.

Some of my ideas were:
* show them a pen/ink drawing and have them just explore doing it and seeing what's what
* some challenging maze puzzle that is recreated about 5 times and they can just practice
* maybe some legos tossed around and they have to explore creating something
* given a prompt of an object, they have to draw it using only triangles or only circles or something

And for all of these, again, I'll keep stressing the goal of just tinkering to take the pressure off (in their minds), but to nefariously get them to get comfortable with just diving in and doing and trying. Mwa ha ha ha.


  1. What a good idea. Now if you would just flesh out the activities, test drive them, and write an ebook, I'll be the first to buy it!

    How about one of those toothpick puzzles? The problem is, I always envision the the toothpicks being used to stab people, or Legos all over the floor.

  2. Toothpicks! I forgot about those .... they are definitely in the running and thanks. I'll post more when there's more meat/tofu on the matter :).

  3. Have you tried the marshmallow challenge where students build the tallest tower they can with spaghetti and marshmallow? I haven't tried it myself, but seems like something along the lines of what you're trying to do.

  4. I'd never seen that video, thanks! I've seen various design challenges similar, but I like this one with the spaghetti weakness issue and the final "crisis" of the marshmallow. I might have to do this in my DE class.