In school yesterday my students made toy jet planes, and as I left school to come home, they were playing with them in the volleyball court, building sand piles and crashing jet planes in the desert. Fortunately the wooden planes are more resilient than the real thing, and can be played with roughly for hours.
A school principal from Canada mentioned the difficulty engaging boys in learning:
If they do not have more hands on activities I feel that we as educators fail to engage them. You know this.Yes, I do know that. But I am also having some problem with older boys (fifth and sixth grades) who express large ambition in the things they want to make, but have allowed themselves little or no time to gain some level of mastery in the most simple things. "Do this first and develop the skill to do that" is not a thing that some boys want to hear, as some do not want to admit their lack of skill and are frustrated that they are held back. For me as a teacher, to allow them to proceed without requisite skill becomes a waste of their time, my time, and the materials. The answer, I believe in this case, is to set some reasonable goals that the student can achieve, as markers for their preparedness to do more complex things. That was one of the methods illustrated in Educational Sloyd.
I remain concerned that digital technology is intended to make once difficult things easy and near mindless, making extremely complex things seem like child's play, but the real satisfaction in life comes from doing difficult and demanding things. By infusing children's lives with the latest fads in programs and devices (and thinking mistakenly that we are doing great things), we are allowing children to skip important developmental levels leaving them unaware of the full process required to do complex, difficult, meaningful things.
Make, fix, and create.