Tinkering with Design

Tinkering…  My students experimented with design this week…and then tinkered with their design after talking about it with their classmates.

Based on a nonfiction article about how zoos are experimenting with keeping their animals stimulated–including designing toys based on animals’ natural behaviors, we invited our students to try their hands at designing a toy for a favorite zoo animal.

They drew and labeled and explained their designs.  And evaluated their own and classmates’ designs by asking a few questions:  Is it safe for the animal?  Are the size and materials right for the animal?  Is it fun for the animal?

And then, with feedback in mind, students returned to their designs again…and created a new iteration.  They either started from scratch or improved on their original design.  This design was created by a six-year-old with an elephant in mind!

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I’m looking forward to our next tinkering opportunity–when students will take some materials and design a “thing” from them.  I can’t wait for them to start making!

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