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Zooming In and Out with Scale and Systems Thinking
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Student teams act as engineers and learn about systems thinking and scale by reassembling the separated pages of the engaging picture book, “Zoom,” by Istvan Banyai. The book is a series of 31 wordless pictures that start very close-up and then zoom out—from a rooster’s comb to outer space. Like a movie camera, each subsequent page pulls back to reveal the context of the previous scene as something different than what you originally thought. When the 31 un-numbered pages are jumbled, it is a surprising challenge for teams to figure out how the pictures connect. The task prompts students to pause and look closer so as to adjust to new points of view and problem solve to find a logical sequence. It requires them to step back and take a broader view. Students learn that engineers work together as teams and look at things very closely so that they see different things and come up with more than one solution when problem solving. To conclude, students go outside and practice their skills by imagining and then drawing their own Zoom-like small booklet stories inspired by items found in nature. The classic duck/rabbit ambiguous drawing is provided as a kickoff visual aid.

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Ashley Whitehead
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