Experimentation and Prototyping
By Amanda Depperschmidt on May 16th, 2015
Experimentation and prototyping provides a space to play with topics being researched in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math). This is a time for trying out various approaches and processes without the fear of looking for a right/wrong answer. This is a time for failing quickly, learning from failure and trying again. Prototyping can be done with easily manipulated and inexpensive material like paper, wood, clay, wire recycled items and old mechanical parts. Final prototyping can be done with 3-D printing and fabrication techniques.
The Art of Making Mistakes
When we first begin to walk, one of the most important lessons that we must learn is that when we fall down we must get back up again. If it were not for our mistakes and failures, we would not be able to learn how to achieve a goal — we would simply fall down over and over again. This is the grand experiment of life, a key component of nature and adaptation that we all must come to accept and understand.
While experimenting and accepting failure is a part of a larger natural order, sometimes we have trouble allowing it to govern us. When something goes wrong, we often blame ourselves or feel guilty. We do not like facing the idea that we could have done something incorrectly or that we could be at fault. But as soon as we acknowledge this set of rules, we can allow it to bind us to new decisions and discovery. Trying and failing is only a step in the process, a brick in the road to a final destination.
Though it may be difficult for us to accept the prospect of failure when we begin an experiment, it is important that we learn to let that go and to embrace the possibilities that lay before us. It may be easy to put a project off because of the sense that it won’t pan out the way that we want it to, but this train of thought must be abandoned. In experimenting, there are no mistakes to be made. Even if a project is not a “success” in the way that we want it to be, there are still things for us to learn and experience for us to gain. The process is not black and white; it is a scale of grays and neutrals that we must learn to enjoy.