I had the chance to visit one of design and technology classes in one of our middle schools. The students had been using design technology (spec design programs, laser cutting tools and old school construction elements) to create their own uniquely design golf putters. As a culmination of this project the educator (@quinn_keating) put those putters to the test. Students had fifteen minutes to “flash design” a nine hole golf course throughout the school building. At each hole different materials and design elements were provided, allowing students the chance to try, fail, redesign and improve. Then, of course, they had the chance to test out their designs in a flurry of mini-golf prowess.
There was a lot that I appreciated about this learning opportunity; however, the one that stood out the most was the opportunity to mess up. As students approached each station you could see the grandness of what they wanted to do with the materials jump right out in front of them. Then, after testing their design, they realized that the laws of physics still apply and a redesign was in order. I sincerely believe that providing students an opportunity to fail and fix is a very important part of what we do as educators. Beautiful, and very fun, example in this case.