Modeling is practice that is central to the work of science, mathematics, and engineering. In these disciplines, models are often representations of structures, systems, and/or of how phenomena in the natural world work.
Collectively, models can take many forms. These include conceptual drawings and diagrams, mathematical equations, computer simulations, graphs, analogies, and/or in the case of Zometool – physical constructions!
The activity of building and refining models is important for:
(a) visualizing, making sense of, and analyzing relationships within and between both microscopic and macroscopic structures, systems, and phenomena,
(b) inspiring new explanatory or how/why questions for investigation,
(c) organizing, assessing, modifying, and communicating our ideas over time.
At home, modeling activities with Zometool can gets kids (young and old) excited about building and innovating as they ask questions, experiment, communicate, and problem-solve in ways that are similar to authentic work and thinking in science, mathematics, and engineering. And, it’s easy to integrate modeling activities within your own “backyard” life experiences:
1. Build and refine a mock-up or prototype of your next home project or idea
(e.g., a new pet area, shelf, or garden space). Give kids time to explore, “play with,” and modify their ideas. How did you come up with this idea? Why do you think this will work for our situation? How could we “test” this prototype? Is there anything we could change?
2. Build a model of an existing structure
(e.g. an animal, an aircraft, a shape, an interesting building). What do you notice about this structure? Do you see any patterns or relationships? How might this structure be related to its function?
Build a new animal, a fort, a new toy or machine, a tower, etc. The sky is the limit. What are you building? How did you think about this? How does this work?
Please feel free to submit pictures of your “Zome at Home” projects and adventures to firstname.lastname@example.org. We would love to feature the ideas and thinking of Zometool users – all ages!