This blog post is brought to you by Deb, Gerry and Hannah.
Today’s experience focused on exploring the idea of mathematical geometric shapes and its applications in education in the garden. The morning began with an unexpected indoor lesson as it was raining, but we made good use of time and started with constructing a mini model of our final project with Susan – a hyperboloid structure that would later be planted as an architectural piece inside the orchard garden. Susan has successfully done this project with both adults as well as elementary age learners. This hyperboloid building project combines multiple disciplines such as mathematics, art, engineering and outdoor education. Many of us were apprehensive about how such a complex model could be built using simply wooden skewers and hair elastics. But with some careful teamwork it came together easily. We also discussed the subjects that could be cross connected with this project (such as dying the skewers different colours with natural plan colouring) as well as what age group it would best suit.
In the afternoon we started to build our final project; this time using 12 foot repurposed bamboo poles and special orchard tree elastics (made to withstand the elements). We quickly devised an organizational system and laid out the bamboo in double layers exactly as we did with our mini models – only to find out after lifting it up that it did not compare to the existing hyperboloid structure in the garden that we were trying to replicate. Confused as to why it didn’t work out like our morning model, we decided go back to the drawing board after closely studying the instructional video and realized that we needed to take it all apart. Twice.
Through this experience, we learned the importance of planning, organizing and delegating roles in such a large project. However, as teachers we know that the most memorable learning comes from unanticipated outcomes and this project was a great reminder for everyone.