I set students loose with the Zometools and our session went far beyond my expectations. Here are some of the notes I took on the process:
1) students sit in their working groups, the same groups as they'll do projects with the rest of the week.
2) immediately, a few of the students start unpacking and manipulating the building pieces.
3) some people ask me what I mean by "rules." It becomes apparent to them soon that rules come with the first few minutes of handling the Zometool building pieces.
4) lots of talking, which sounds good natured.
5) lots of "what if we..." and "why don't we."
6) next: strategies, let's put this here and see if we get...״
7) four out of each group of five seemed to be actively working. One out of each group seemed engaged, but quietly observing, seldom talking.
8) lots of laughing and also lots of focus
9) lots of "oh! That's this!"
10) kinetic work, symmetry and asymmetry being compared, trading of blocks within groups.
Each group presented their product. I asked them to share their process, viz., how did you come up with this idea? How did your group solve problems? What were the rules that evolved as you did this work? Did you play the same role in this work as you did earlier today in group projects? Do you want to retain/change that role?
Lots of further discussion comparing sites we've visited, conceptualizing ideas about sustainability, planning, perception of built environments.
A productive and in many ways surprising time! Would love to get student feedback on the experience!