Design Lab Prototyping

The Design Lab staff and Explainers have been prototyping 3 activities, Circuit City (with LED’s, batteries, foil, and various building materials); Dowels and Rubberbands; and Recycle City (with recycled materials and zoobs).  In general, the buzz has been really beautiful to watch, the kind of calm and cooperative concentration that suggests a level of “flow” that great state of intense and playful focus. Scott Burg and Molly Reisman, the evaluation team from Rockman et al are here, and I think that they share our enthusiasm for the Design Lab work.

Our Explainers have an invitation only blog (I managed to wheedle my way in) called Clumpology (long story).  They have been sharing their very illuminating reflections about facilitating Design Lab.

Salman wrote:

2/26/12 Circuit City

Circuit city has quickly become my favorite design lab activity. I was curious how the children would interact with the idea of creating ciricuits using LED lights and switches, and I have to say I was pleasantly surprised. One of my favorite interactions of the day was with a child who built a helicopter using a motor and decided to create a helipad for it. After he made the helipad, he realized he had no place to put his helipad and promptly assembled a skyscraper for it. The creativity the children demonstrate for design lab’s circuit city is fascinating. Another important point one of the children made was if we were building a city, where were the people? After her realization, circuit city had a proud population of five, one of which was an alien. I didn’t realize how many different possibilities were available with a carton, some wires, and a battery with an LED light. 

Oh, and pipe cleaner saved the day; our alien was a proud demonstration of pipe cleaner-based life.