A day off from school doesn’t mean a day off from learning. It doesn’t even have to mean a day out of the building for some of us.
A little over half of ID cohort members decided to spend our “day off” at school working on our ventures because we feel that strongly about their importance and want as much time as possible to work on them.
What was great about today was that we got to plan exactly how we wanted “school” to be run today. There were teachers around, because they all had to come in today, but there was no one telling us what to do, when to do it, or how to do it. I mean we even decided for ourselves when we thought was a good time to come in and leave, and it wasn’t like anyone was taking role saying “if you aren’t here there will be punishments later.” And yet everyone that agreed to come ahead of time was there.
My team came in at 10, and I felt more rested and ready for the day then I’ve felt in a while. I didn’t come in sleepy for the first hour or so because I actually got enough sleep that night (and I went to bed around the same time as a normal school day and got all of my homework for tomorrow done yesterday). We all showed up ready to work and that’s what we did.
We started the day by just discussing our game plan for what we wanted to accomplish and how we were going to get there. Our goal: 2 full scale next level prototypes by the end of the day.
We then got to work diagraming on white boards and pieces of paper, 3D printing pieces we designed, cutting coroplast (the material used to create plastic signs for yards) to fit the dimensions of our laser cutter, and updating our CAD model with new dimensions.
Around 12:30 we took a quick break for lunch. Breaks are important and we made sure to take a few through out the day. Some were just us siting and needing to digest, others involved teachers walking by and getting us curious about 3D printed food, and still others involved talking to the other ID team and giving them advice/feedback on their work. (Small tangent, I had kind of a nerdy proud moment earlier today when members of the Design Sprint team asked me for advice on giving a pitch. It was just a cool thing to think about us a team having people becoming experts in various areas enough to ask each other for feedback and advice rather than always turning towards adults.)
Now I will say, we did not accomplish all of our original goals for the day. After having our materials all ready to send to the laser cutter, we had some communication problems that made it not possible for us to use the laser printer today. We did however attempt to use our brand new CNC machine that was set up today! No one really knows just how to use it yet, but we started working with some of our mentors to figure out how it works. So far we’ve learned more about orienting it, learned to not push the “Stop and Flush” button because it just sends the drill into the table, and learned that coroplast does not work with the CNC machine as predicted. Our theory is that because coroplast is made with threads and the CNC machine cuts things by spinning, the threads just get caught up in the machine which made a messy final product that would not work for trying to create anything sturdy. We also did successfully design our own handle that will work with a specific type of screw that we are using for our product!
So both the fail bell and the progress bell were rung today, and both represented important learning moments in our journey.
We finished the day by discussing how we want to proceed, because tomorrow we are having an internal with the rest of ID. We originally planned on using this time to test the building process of our product, but since the prototypes are not ready, we instead have decided to still have the internal but pivot the purpose of it. Tomorrow we will instead be showing some pictures, and the smaller prototypes and system flow which we do currently have. It’s important to share out with your full team every now and then so that they know what you have been learning and working on.
School was not in session today, but learning doesn’t start or stop with “school”. Today we were in the real world. We set our own goals, schedules, and breaks. We found help when we needed it. We used tools around us to support our learning. We had fun working with a clear purpose in mind: we are designing for a need in our community, and that is something worth going to school on our “day off” to keep working on solving.