Four weeks ago, our Eagles were tasked with designing a new studio! From the ground up, they would have to plan, design, and build a miniature of the new structure. Not a feat for the faint of heart! The group with the plan that was voted “most likely to be built” would receive some shiny new Lego Architecture sets to take home! “But, you said you aren’t a teacher. How are they learning architecture if you don’t teach them?” I get questions like this a lot when explaining Quest Academy to people unfamiliar with our school. In true guide fashion, I like to ask a question in return, “How do you learn something new?” Let's say you wanted to design a shed for your backyard, how would you go about putting the plans together and making sure the space would fit the need that it was designed for? No matter what your answer is, that is our answer too! Someone might go out and find an architect or contractor to make sure they understand the building codes. Others may get some books from the library or watch some youtube videos. Others will dive right in and get their hands messy, make lots of mistakes, and figure out what works and what doesn’t. Others still might go off and spend $150,000 to go through formal training and certifications to become a licensed architect, build their building, and then get paid to design everything else in their town!
As a Guide, my job is to present a real world problem with a clearly defined end goal. Along the way, I present small challenges that will build new skills, make them think about the subject in a new way, or challenge them to try something they have never done before. As they work their way through the incremental challenges, I help them discover new resources and ask them questions that will help them think critically about the information, process, or task. Once the small goals and challenges have been achieved, they should have the skills and knowledge to put it all together to execute the main challenge they have been building toward.
The reason we do this is to build critical thinking and problem solving skills. Sure, I can tell them how to build a wall that will keep the sheep in. But then they will have the head knowledge of how to build THAT wall for SHEEP. But if I tell them we need a wall built to keep the sheep in and make them think critically about the materials to use, the size of the wall, the location of the wall, the functionality, and finally have them build it and test it, they now have the skills to extrapolate that for when they need a wall that diverts water, or keeps the cold out, or separates two rooms in their future house.
Rather than telling them WHAT to think and do, we help them discover HOW to think and do.