A Cluster in the Making

The project days were not going well, the teams were unfocused. Several of them were not excited by the challenge.

Unlike the previous sprint where the student had defined the purpose of their learning, this project was given to them; for many, its purpose wasn’t sparking their curiosity.

But we had to see it through. The days of the sprint ticked by until the final week. The day before the demo I prepped Jami. Failure was okay – we had still learned some great lessons. “Please don’t feel disappointed,” I urged. Internally, I was heartbroken.

And then came demo day. We walked in and the students began. Our jaws nearly hit the ground.

They must have stayed up all night. They all had completed presentations and walked through their designs and the corresponding calculations of the material costs for their trusses.

One of the teams projected on the screen a complex computer-generated modeling of their home and truss design. It was beautiful.

The teacher turned to me, shocked. "How did they learn to do that?" she asked.

It turned out that, unbeknownst to her, one of her students had a 3-D printer at home and had taught himself how to do modeling on the computer. He then taught all of his teammates how to do it – and they went to town.

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