Concepts: How to make real...
This is for both CNC and general woodworkers. Looking for suggestions, ideas, thoughts, about making devices that teach children basic concepts. Interested in contributing ideas? Read on for background and details.
I worked for decades with optometrists who do something called vision therapy. My main interest has been looking at how it trains attention, and helps build the ability to develop and internalize concepts. For example, my first job was at North American Aviation in a plant that built the Apollo. Again and again, I saw engineering drawings in which the object was really a form of a table...Leg or support, flat top, sometimes a thick top with a hole in it for a bolt, but still a table.
I worked with a couple of engineers who kept using a table type structure to build their inventions. I still have the nested tables I grew up with (antiques now, like me), and realize they formed the concept of table-ness for me. But children today don't do stuff and touch and see, and imagine as we did in the past. So they suffer a dirth of concepts, which impedes their ability to invent. Not all children mind you, but for some, a handicap.
So I've been thinking of some therapy activities that would implant concepts and the ability to visualize and use them. Think of all the inventions and ideas that arrived from visualizations and even dreams--a form of visualization. Visualizing something that does not yet exist, is often based on simple concepts extended into new arenas.
This string has me thinking about a gear board with a simple crank on a gear that the child turns, and a series of various sized and placed gears that move with the first. You would have direction and speed changes, and the activity would be to have the child observe, then predict, then explain all the different speeds and directions of movement.
Is anyone interested in making something like this? If so, I will work on making it available as an advanced therapy device. Have no idea what it would cost, but make via CNC, it would be made in batches. I could probably get a doctor to endorse it and make presentations based on the device, and the idea of concept formation.
I would also be interested in any other basic concepts and ideas on some physical, wood, device to make the concept stick. Something you see, inspect carefully, play with, touch, will stick with you for life. Maybe we could even sell this to science teachers in schools (this already happens with some devices), and it would be a high end item. I definitely see Montessori type schools wanting a kit like this.
I'm going to post this as a separate string, so even non CNC folks can give it a read, think about and make suggestions. I believe this would be something of a revolution in education, where everything is ephemeral, theoretical, read about instead of do.
Any suggestions will be appreciated. This is a pretty ingenious bunch.
The more I do, the less I accomplish.