Sunday, October 21, 2007

Werewolf Learning: Part 1

I’ve posted several videos of a werewolf costume created by a grad student at Western Washington University. I wrote her with some questions about her project. She was more than generous with her answers and I wanted to share some of her responses over the next couple of days.

The comments at the end are mine and reflect my own bias. If you want to read her complete, un-edited comments, they are posted here.

How did you learn to do this? Self taught or did someone show you the basics?

"I learned to sew in Home Economics class in middle school, and when I went to college I took a college course in costume construction and made costume parts for plays and for fun. However, I paid attention and stayed after class to read through the books and magazines that were in the classroom. I also took up the teacher's offer when she suggested extra projects to do in our spare time. By becoming very knowledgeable in the single skill of sewing I found I could apply sewing techniques to many, many, other things. For example, to make a clothing item called a corset one has to cut and grind metal strips then use acrylic (a plastic) to cover up the sharp metal edges. Sewing introduced me to metal work and making objects using plastics. Sewing is also a great introduction to some of the fundamental concepts in higher math, such as topology, multivariable calculus, analytical geometry. It's very easy for a student to think of curves and folds in order to answer a test question when they've been curving and folding fabric."

I love how her answer started in a Home Economics class and ended up discussing higher mathematics. Sometimes it's hard to predict where an initial lesson will lead. But, isn’t that also what is great about learning? Isn’t that what excites us as learners? (And teachers!)

[Image: Modified photo by © Chris Harvey -]

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