25 Feb Fail Fast, Fail Often
On Saturday, February 27 Advent will host the first workshop in a series for parents and their children. The series, called Makerspace Saturdays, brings parents into the makerspace for the first time. Evan Roman, Summer Program Coordinator, shares why she created Makerspace Saturdays and why design thinking is important for children.
ADVENT: What inspired you to create this workshop?
EVAN ROMAN: Once the 2015 summer session ended, I received feedback from parents about how much their children enjoyed the summer at Advent. Many of them wished there was a program like this when they were kids!
Their feedback made me wonder how I could involve parents in Advent’s engineering and design programming. The answer was to launch a Saturday engineering and design workshop for parents and kids. This Saturday workshop allows parents to learn about the design process. They also keep families who attend the summer program connected to their Advent teachers and friends.
At the first Makerspace Saturday, parent and child teams will build a derby car and modify it based on fun design challenges. I am excited to test out the workshop format and hear feedback from the participants.
ADVENT: Why is design thinking important for children?
EVAN: A common phrase in engineering is “Fail fast, fail often.” We celebrate when a structure is built so tall it topples over because it teaches the designer how to construct a sturdier base.
The more frequently students encounter challenges the better their final designs will be. Often a student’s first or favorite idea works on paper but does not translate into a 3D model or prototype. This can be quite discouraging. It is important to have ample time before building to brainstorm and experiment with multiple ideas.
Each project is driven by children’s innate passion for play, which leads to a deep, personal understanding of the material and a thirst for learning. During the Summer Program we use tools to take apart cameras, computers, and clocks. We attach water slides and ziplines to buildings on our 3D model of Boston. We construct pinball machines from cardboard, broken pens, and bells. For what? For fun!
Through the design process the students learn to identify problems, generate ideas, build, test, get feedback, generate and modify their ideas, build, test, get feedback… We often go through the cycle three or four times. This process helps the students be flexible, creative, and innovative in their thinking.
I’m excited to see what happens this Saturday. Saturday’s program is currently full but we are hosting another workshop in April.