As it turns out, bridges are tough to build. Especially with constraints. Students were only allowed to use 100 popsicle sticks and white glue to build their bridges! Constraints drive creativity. Third graders persevered and learned to ‘fail forward fast’ and have a ‘bias toward action.’ Fail forward fast inspires designers to go with their instinct, build fast, and evaluate effectiveness of a prototype so that they can move quickly onto making a better prototype. Similarly, bias toward action inspires designers to, again, go with their instincts rather than pondering the potential effectiveness of a prototype. In design lab, we do more and ponder less.
As of now, the bridges have been built, but not with complete success. In design lab, however, children know that they learn from failure and that it will only help them with the next prototype they build.
The innovative nature of the students in this classroom is evident. While monitoring the prototyping process, I overheard a small group of students whose building wasn’t going so well talking to one another: “If we were bridge builders, we would teach cars how to swim.”