Bikes & Buildings: My Year of Deconstruction and Rebuilding, in a New Building
The task: take the old bike apart and rebuild it.
Excited and engaged they use correctly identified hand tools to take apart bike components. They were able to speak to many of the parts using discipline-based vocabulary: “brakes, gears, sprockets, bearings, handles, grips, frame, bolts, screws.” I was intrigued. They can speak to this but struggle to interpret grade level texts.
Ahhhh, the Design Thinking Process in action. Not necessarily to build something innovative and new (just yet), but to think creatively as they took something apart with an iterative cycle and by incorporating new and alternate paths to reach their goal.
One student suddenly exclaimed, “Wait guys!! WAIT! How are we going to remember how to put all of these parts back together? How are we going to build it from scratch??” It was perfect. They stopped and pondered. They needed to stop and document their process in some way, communicate clearly and collaborate efficiently.
Ultimately, they recognized the need to work together to ensure clarity in order to properly construct something that was being built from many different contributing parts, and when the process was stuck or something wasn’t working, they chose an alternate path to reach their goal. Some of them took leadership roles. Some listened intently. Some shared creative solutions. Some followed directions and did the work.
The comparison between this process and opening a new school became beautifully obvious.
As I deconstruct my previous ideas and experiences, I have found myself starting from scratch, all year long. New building, new students, new community, new ideas, new habits and perhaps the most challenging, new expectations.
What did I learn today?
That when we take old things apart, look at them carefully and realize that we need to reconstruct them, new parts, ideas and creative solutions are required. Truthfully, this process has been joyful, but it’s also been painful and humbling.
What a day.
What a year.
Rayna Bergerman (@RaynaBergerman) Learning Leader at Dr. Martha Cohen School, concept connector, maker, hiker, biker and explorer trying to give back to the world where I can.