International Journal of Technology and Design Education, 2015, Vol.25(1), pp.1-23
Iteration during the design process is an essential element. Engineers optimize their design by iteration. Research on iteration in Primary Design Education is however scarce; possibly teachers believe they do not have enough time for iteration in daily classroom practices. Spontaneous playing behavior of children indicates that iteration fits in a natural way of learning. To demonstrate the importance of iteration for the design performance and understand what occurs in an optimized situation a study was conducted in a Dutch Montessori school. Four conditions were chosen to shape the design assignment; iteration, freedom of choice, collaboration and presentation. The choice for these conditions was inspired by the work of Montessori, and because of the positive effects on design performance during previous design and technology projects. This led to a concrete assignment, suitable for 6–8 years old, “Fold a piece of aluminum foil so it can hold the weight of marbles when it lies on the water. The more marbles it can hold the better.” Self correction was possible as the challenge lays in the ease to improve countable results. Clear results of iteration could be determined; an increasing sense of control and detailed insight in what to do for maximum results were found amongst the pupils. Additional literature about capability development and metacognition confirmed the value of the four conditions in relation to the observed results.
Iteration ; Collaboration ; Metacognition ; Montessori ; Primary education ; Teaching engineering design
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