Discovering Big Trak

Recently, I've been reading up on how we approach and report on solving problems. One book recommended to me was Exploring Science by David Klahr. There's lots in this book.  Khlar performs experiments in his "Discovery Lab" where participants are observed solving and reporting problems.  He uses a robotic toy called Big Trak. Its a self propelled, self contained toy that can be programmed to move around the floor.

Khlar programs a function (its a repeat function) on the toy. He then asks the participants to figure out the function and report how the program operates.

Its been an interesting read and some of the dialogue that happens during hypothesis and testing fits in nicely with the IM Coaching I'm giving. Its one of the reasons James Bach suggested I read the book.

This experiments were performed in the late eighties, so I was quite suprised to see Big Trak's been sold in my local bookstore.

I immediately grabbed a couple and brought them home.

I handed one out to one of my kids to see if he could figure out how it worked. Here's the video.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QxoQNuAR_BA[/youtube]

I'm going to incorporate these new robotic toys into my Exploratory Workshop, if I can just work out how to switch off that really annoying beep sound.