Imagine this…. someone who knows nothing about Acton Academy wanders into the studio and notices all the students tinkering joyfully, building crazy-looking Rube Goldberg-like contraptions. The visitor is puzzled and possibly even indignant. “Looks like playtime to me,” she thinks. Aloud, she asks, “ Where is the value in this? Shouldn’t you be learning something? This is school, after all.”
Guides try to come up with challenges that hit the sweet spot where rigor intersects joy. The Rube Goldberg design-build project has many layers; “Games within games within games,” one Eagle noted. Not all elements are immediately visible to a random visitor, but most are easily teased out by asking a few good questions.
So, where is the value? According to the Eagles, the value lies in:
- hands-on experimentation
- letting their imaginations freely flow
- nudging their creativity from “bud to blossom” (thank you, Anaya)
- answering an open-ended question
- working without instruction
- problem solving
- incorporating evidence of their biographical research into their designs
- having FUN
When Eagles begin designing their own Quests from scratch, chances are very good they will do an even better job of hitting the right balance. They already do the best job of answering visitors’ questions!