We wanted to teach our club kids how hard and important it is to write instructions that can be followed. To do so we devised a simple exercise to illustrate how hard it is to write good documentation.
|0.||We introduced the topic with some simple illustrations and a cool video.||Click here for some of the introductory materials. |
|1.||We divided the attendees into groups of 4-6 with one adult per group assisting. We called them "Product Groups." You can see the signage in the photos. |
Note that we made sure the groups had a full age distribution buy sorting by age then assigning them to a group.
We have found this arrangement produces the best results because it normalizes the activity and all groups will generate similar work.
|2||Each group was given two bags of identical parts (shape, colors, etc.) |
We considered making it more realistic by creating at least one asynchronous set that was missing a few parts but opted not to.
NOTE: You don't need 4, 6, 8 identical bags, just sets of 2 identical bags. That is, each matched set should not be like the other sets to provide variety in the finished products.
|3||Each group was given a worksheet pack of blank work sheets with numbered steps and spaces for instructions and illustrations. You can see their work on the Project Pages in the navigation at the top of the page.|
Note that they were only allowed to use a pencil. No color or other indicators.
|You can download a word version of the worksheet here.|
|4||Each team was given 45-60 minutes to build a model and document it. ||Note: If a team finished early we invited them to open the other bag and try to build their own model.|
|5||The production models were labeled and placed in shopping bags.|| |
|6||The teams then traded their instructions and second bag of parts with another team and they proceeded to attempt to build what the first team had documented.|| |
|7||When the teams were done building we compared the models.|| |