We went to say hi to the Atlantic today. Well, sort of. It was the Chesapeake Bay, but I think it counts.
Today we’re in Baltimore, enjoying our first day off in recent memory. Which means crab cakes and walking along the promenade. Somehow, “day off” also means hours of planning, emailing, and file management. Eh, we take what we can get.
We drove to Charm City from Steel City, where we’ve had a wonderful few days. So I will devote the rest of this blog post to attempting to answer the question:
Why did we have a great time in Pittsburgh?
Maybe it’s because we got to go kayaking on the river.
Or because we got to go sightseeing and check out the skyline at night.
(Oh, hey, bonus points if you can spot the SparkTruck in the high-resolution original of that photo.)
Maybe we had a great time in Pittsbugh because we got to stay with the Greenos (thank you so much, Patty and John!) and play with Buster. SOOO CUTE!!!
Or maybe it was because we got to run some workshops at the WQED studios where Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood used to be filmed, and meet our new best friend Walt, who made us feel like movie stars. (Hey, Walt, sure you don’t want to come along for the rest of the trip? :)
In addition to running some workshops with kids, we ran one with educators. It was great. We shared stories from our travels, and some thoughts on how schools can incorporate more creativity-nurturing activities into the curriculum.
We talked about structuring activities that force students to get stuck and work to get unstuck. We also talked about the IT BEEPS process and how brainstorming, prototyping, and storytelling can be used to structure student projects. And of course, we spent a lot of time discussing prototyping as a way to solve hairy problems - both as something to encourage students to do, and also to embrace as educators, becoming fluent at the practice of accepting early failures as necessary.
To drive that point home, of course, we staged a pompom launcher competition, and gave out awards for the
most spectacular failure biggest learning opportunity!
Maybe we had a great time in Pittsburgh because we got to be on TV!
Or maybe it was because we got to go to the Pittsburgh Children’s Museum to hang out and run some workshops.
(Photo © Larry Rippel)
And find really cool and encouraging signs in the museum’s MAKESHOP.
Or maybe we had a great time because we got to go to the Western Pennsylvania School for the Deaf to run a Vibrobots workshop with the 8th-graders there.
Or maybe it was because we got to spend a day in Schenley Plaza, meeting the community and chatting about our project. A major highlight was when an entire class of grad students in Carnegie Mellon’s Spontaneous Studio class, led by Haakon Faste, decided to pay us a visit. They even made themselves hats out of Post-Its for the occasion of meeting us! Needless to say, we were jumping for joy and quite honored.
There are probably lots of other little things that contributed to a fabulous few days in a wonderful Pennsylvania city. (Most of them involve butter and/or sugar, so I won’t embarrass myself by enumerating them.)
On the drive to Baltimore, I saw color on the trees for the first time this year. It was beautiful but also caught me off-guard. I guess Fall is coming.