Tuesday, 31 October 2017

Necessity is the Mother of Invention

It has been a busy couple of weeks in Room 2 as we have focused on the art of innovation and design. 

             Last week we came up with designs to meet two briefs.  In the first task, the kids had to design a butterfly trap.  In order for it to be deemed successful, it had to meet certain criteria.  First and foremost it had to trap the butterfly safely - not damaging its fragile wings in any way.  There needed to be some kind of storage facility in the contraption, it need to pay homage to the old style butterfly net by incorporating some form of netting, and it had to be user-friendly for single operator use.  
            The kids, who were working in collaborative groups, had to pitch their designs to their classmates.  They had only one minute to 'sell' their idea.  Following the presentation, they accepted five questions from the floor.  The questioners were looking to find weaknesses in the design. Designers had the right of reply.  It was very intense but also fun.
              In the second task, the kids had to design systems to get people quickly and efficiently around a busy airport.  Their design had to include buttons, safety had to be prioritised through thoughtfully applied safety features, their design had to be based on current technologies (no more than fifty years in the future), and any 'vehicles' had to fit an average sized kiwi family (four or five people).  Some of the thinking was out of this world!  The ability of the kids to think divergently in order to solve a very complex and real world problem was truly impressive.  
                 This week we have discussed the reason for inventions and inventing (and also scientific exploration and discovery).  Inventions are about addressing human need; about identifying and resolving problems that hinder us from moving forward.
                 Today we considered problems that we see currently exist in our homes and in our school.  Again we worked in collaborative groupings to brainstorm all the problems, and by extension all the possibilities.  An automatic pooper scooper was a fantastic idea, and what about our school lunch orders being delivered via zip-line to Mrs Coombes?  Kids loved the idea of an automatic bed maker... and why wouldn't they?  Isn't walking the dog a total pain?  Why hasn't anyone ever designed a robotic dog walker?  These are the big questions...... Forget what is the meaning of life?!
                We will start with concept drawings soon and will begin researching the possibilities to see whether our ideas have popular appeal or are even 'do-able'.  
                Gee whizz, it's all go, go, go in Room 2 as we race towards the future.


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