Sunday, January 5, 2014

Webelos Engineer

As part of the requirement for his Webelos engineer pin, Nate needed to draw a floor plan--including the doors, windows, and stairs--of our house. I originally envisioned handing him a piece of paper and a pencil, and then asking that he independently sketch a mostly-accurate representation of the space.

My husband had other ideas.

And as hard as it is for me to admit this, my husband had better ideas.

My husband might have a background in engineering.
Can you tell?

Would my approach have been good enough to fulfill the requirement? Oh, undoubtedly.

But with his father's guiding hand, Nate got three very important results that are far more lasting and valuable than simply fulfilling a requirement:

1) Althouh Nate has excellent mathematical thinking skills, he still struggles with a some very basic practices, including math-fact automaticity, rounding and estimating, and measurement. With my husband's influence over this project, the boy got practice in all of these areas. More importantly, this task was not purely conceptual or theoretical. The goal (to draw a floor plan of our home) and the motivation behind it (to earn a Webelos pin) were both very real and concrete. This wasn't something Nate was doing in order "to learn." This was just something he was doing with his dad for Scouts. 

2) Speaking of "something he was doing with his dad," it's worth noting that this project took nearly and hour--much longer, unless you count the time he'd have spent complaining, than it would've taken for Nate to simply make an approximate sketch. Also worth noting is that this hour was spent, not alone and seated at the kitchen table, but in active cooperation with his father. That's right...this was, without a doubt, quality time. And seriously, any approach that results in an hour's worth of positive parent-child interaction is automatically better than any other method (even if another method would allow you to prepare dinner at the same time).

3) When it was all said and done, Nate ended up with a drawing that was immediately ready to be created in Minecraft. And would you care to guess what he did as soon as he got home from his Webelos den meeting? Yeah...Minecraft.

(By the way, this might be the closest I've ever come to admitting that I was wrong and my husband was right. I'm begging you...please keep this admission a secret. It'll just stay between us, right? You, me...and the internets.) 

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