Tuesday, 30 May 2017

Design, failing fast and focusing on the real reason we learn mathematics

How often does it seem that maths is taught in isolation and for seemingly little purpose? Probably more often than it should be. (As adults we might 'get it' but kids don't necessarily understand that maths exists out there in the real world and is all around us all of the time)   Maths is a beautiful language but sings most loudly and clearly when we breathe life into it by applying it to solve real life problems.  Today the maths was the real deal and everyone was excited.
           In Room 2 we have been applying our measurement knowledge through the design of a wallet that can carry an iPhone, cash and cards.   The kids have been given the dimensions of a smart-phone, a credit card and a ten dollar note in order to build prototype i of their wallets. Their final design should be user-friendly, show accurate measurement (in terms of functionality) and look good. 
              Today we discussed the concept of  'failing fast'.  So what does it mean to 'fail fast'? In short it is an acknowledgement that in the process of failing we are one step closer to achieving a more successful outcome; through innovation and improvement a better end product results; through risk taking and not being limited by a fear of failure we can uncover novel design solutions. In short you try something out, and if it doesn't work, you fix it.  We encourage this approach in writing - in fact good editing and reshaping is seen as essential, so by extension, why don't we encourage improvement in design (applied mathematics)?  
            Today some kids realised their first prototypes were too tight, too big or too ugly. Not one kid got upset.  With a positive mindset the kids only see the progress they are making and how much closer they are to achieving their aim.
             Tomorrow the children will continue to refine their designs and start prototype ii.  

Watch this space!

Allie has her measurements recorded and has decided on her initial design
Cailan carefully considers the design brief and ensures his measurements are accurate
Brayden has an innovative design.  The ability to think 'outside the box' is termed divergent thinking.  Divergent thinkers
are able to come up with multiple solutions to a problem with relative ease.

Ishika is working on prototype i.  Newsprint is used initially because it is inexpensive but gives an indication of how well the final product might meet the brief

Failing fast means that problems can be quickly identified and resolved

Brayden works methodically when approaching the brief.  He is careful to ensure all requirements are addressed in his design

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