April 10, 2007

Invent to learn

Until Easter we had the pleasure of hosting the exhibition Toy Tech, created by Invention Evangelist Ed Sobey at the Northwestern Invention Center. Ed is a remarkable man, and his "Invent to learn" philosophy is a learning strategy we found very intuitive and efficient.

Toy Tech is an active exhibition, where visitors can play with toys and view adjacent cut-always to see how they work. The exhibition includes some of “The World’s Greatest Toys” exhibit and a workshop. At the workshop visitors can make a variety of toys from inexpensive materials. They learn physics and building skills while becoming empowered to do more exploration. We used the "Invent to learn" philosophy at the workshop. The kids got a task to solve without getting an "instruction leaflet" from us. The idea is to learn by doing mistakes; make a prototype as fast as possible, then test it and correct one flaw at a time. Ed has written several books of this learning method, and I highly recommend two of his books entiteled Rocket-Powered Science: Invent to learn! Create, Build & Test Rocket Designs and Loco-Motion, Physics Models for the Classroom: 25+ Hands-On Projects.
[Update: The Toy Tech exhibition can be viewed at Jærmuseet, the Science Centre in Sandnes, from september. There is also an American version on tour, contact Ed if you want to know more.]


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