“This procedure gave a way to introduce powerful ideas such as mechanical advantage and torque not in an abstract way but in a concrete, connected way. The students found the ideas powerful because they enabled them to achieve what they wanted. A procedure that directs attention to the limiting factors not only models a productive process in context but also enables the introduction of terminology and powerful ideas. We do not expect everyone to invent important scientific content out of nothing. We do not fabricate toy situations to teach specific concepts, but rather the concepts emerge due to need to make their own projects succeed. Their projects are their expression of their thinking about how to accomplish what they choose. Our approach trivializes neither constructivism nor discovery. The world provides the feedback and if their thinking does not achieve what they expect, either their expression or their ideas need re-doing. We do not do nothing and expect them to discover everything. However, we are not under the illusion that if we merely tell them an answer then that means they understand it fully. The project serves as the most important metric of understanding. It either works or it does not. Multiple projects surface scientific principles as the same idea can work in a variety of situations. The methodology, and the development of a culture built upon such exploration, investigation, and verification, potentially carries the learning past simply making something work as one uses the same approach and tools to verify whether the ideas are robust, complete, and have aesthetic value.”
Cavallo, D. Papert, S. and Stager, G. (2004) Climbing to Understanding: Lessons from an Experimental Learning Environment for Adjudicated Youth. In the Proceedings of the International Conference on the Learning Sciences. Santa Monica, CA. June 22-26, 2004. pp 113-120.