Week 0: Final Project Idea

Concept: I study cognitive development, so I think a lot about how kids learn and whether the toys we surround them with really support their learning or not (not that they all have to). The toy that grinds my gears the most are number blocks. They're everywhere, and they make NO SENSE. The way kids learn that 2 is more than 1 and 3 is more than 2 is a slow process. They learn the count list (saying 1,2,3,4,5,etc.) just like they'd learn another song where they have no idea what the words mean. But the jump to understanding that as you move up the count list means you add one more item to a set comes much later. First, they learn what 1 means and can hand you a single item, but if you ask for 2 they give you a handful. Then slowly they can give you 2 but 3 is still a mystery. This goes on until they reach 4 or 5 and then they have an a-ha moment where it all falls into place and they understand the "cardinal principle" that the count list refers to increases in a counted set. All that to say that a single block that has the number 3 on it makes absolutely zero sense if you're trying to get your child to understand how numbers work. So my idea is to make a set of blocks that snap or magnetize together, with small e-ink screens on top that will change the number depending on how many are attached, so children can add or subtract blocks and see the numbers change based on how many are connected.

Skills used: Procreate, Fusion 360

These give me the shivers.

A sketch of the idea - the number on the screen should be in counting order depending on the number of blocks it's connected to. It would also be fun to be able to add function blocks so older kids can use them to practice addition, multiplication, etc.

My first fusion sketch! It was more intuitive than I expected, and I practiced using parameters to adjust the shape and size of the block and the connectors.