The journey is the reward

As the ancient Chinese proverb goes, the journey is the reward.  School can often be about the destination, the end product over the process but it is the challenges that we face and conquer on the journey that truly bring learning alive.  In Year 7 Multimedia, the challenge put forth to the four classes was to build a 3D scaled replica of the Ridgeway Campus.  A truly exciting challenge but a large mountain to scale.  Each class was allocated a section of the school and had to work collaboratively to work out the scale.  Students used NearMap to collect initial data and coupled this with intense fieldwork to capture data they couldn’t uncover from an aerial view.  Every challenge along the way has been faced by the students.  How do we estimate height?  How do ensure that each class is working on the same scale?  How will we account for the hills and elevations?  Each of these crossroads is a design challenge that students work through.  Below is a collection of images of students starting out on the journey.

With a project of this scale, there are many paths one can take.  Some will be dead ends and others unlock a new way of thinking.  To know where to go next, students are rapidly prototyping each area.  Using small incremental steps, students can test and validate their thinking and learn that failure is only a prototype that hasn’t worked.  With prototypes that have failed, we have learnt ways not to do things but this is not wastage, this is learning.  The buildings are being 3D printed but this is closer to the final product prototype and is time consuming.  Testing the scale using paper allows agility and for students to make lots of mistakes quickly and to adjust course accordingly.  For the walls and hills, students are using foam, plasticine and air drying plaster to mould shapes and test.  For the surfaces, students are testing products used normally for model train sets to achieve the right finish.  Every step along the way is completed by the students.  We are about half way through this journey but we have travelled far.  I look forward to sharing the final product shortly.

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