Saturday, July 09, 2016

Failure & Success as seen with Strandbeests

The Exploratorium Museum of San Francisco currently has a large exhibit called Strandbeest: The Dream Machines of Theo Jansen. The exhibit has consisted of several of these large machines on display, daily demonstrations of several machines and special events including an After Dark (adults only night) with Adam Savage of Mythbusters fame.

Savage spent three days making a strandbeest of his own live at the Exploratorium in front of whoever would like to watch. He unveiled his creation at yesterday's After Dark event. I was unable to go (those darn kids) but watched video today.

I was so happy to see Savage admit failure and his own limitations. He had designed his machine wrong at first, adjusted it and it worked but not the way he wanted. Even at his unveiling he admitted it wasn't quite the way he wanted, and then he just hopped up on the machine in a "Well I wonder if..." way. He surprised himself and the audience when the machine worked as he had hoped.

His enthusiasm is contagious and his honest answers to audience questions is very reflective. This is a great video to show students that even their media heroes have failures, and grow through embracing them. He even jokes that he fully expected to see headlines the next day saying he had failed "...and that's okay!" It will make a great addition to an engineering project introduction.

Hearing Savage discussing "The Imposter Complex" that many new and veteran teachers experience is uplifting; "He struggles with it just like I do!"

The Exploratorium has a lot of resources online, links to the demos of the Tinspider walking, and more. I was able to see the machines in passing during the Summer Institute for Teachers and I do hope to get out to the museum this summer and really seeing the machines in detail. If you're in the area I highly recommend it.

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