Strandbeest: The Dream Machines of Theo Jansen at the Exploratorium featured enormous kinetic sculptures called strandbeests—“beach animals” in Dutch—that mesmerized with their eerily lifelike motion. Constructed largely of PVC tubing and equipped with sensory organs and ever-evolving survival strategies, these amazing beests walked a wandering, wind-blown line between art and engineering, mechanics and biology.
Physicist-turned-artist Jansen has been creating strandbeests since 1990. Iteratively designed and intricately assembled, Jansen’s self-propelled creatures have evolved over the years, becoming increasingly complex and lifelike, with specialized adaptations to help them survive in their seaside environment.
Zilberman, Maria. "Strandbeest: The Dream Machines of Theo Jansen." San Francisco, CA: Exploratorium,
2016. http://www.exploratorium.edu/strandbeest (accessed 23 Sep 2016).
Some 40 million tons of reusable plastic cutlery get thrown away every year, most of them after a single use. This plastic can take up to 1,000 years to break down in the environment. Meanwhile, they often collect in the oceans, adding to an already long list of environmental concerns we face today.
Bakeys, an edible cutlery manufacturer based in India, might have a promising solution. The company launching the world's first edible cutlery line. Yes — that's a spoon that you can eat.
Action and Reaction: What SPARKs your interest about this new product?
21st Century Skills: Did you notice examples of any of the 6Cs in the video clip?
Connections: Would YOU be a customer for edible cutlery? What would interest you? What would make you cautious or concerned?
What sparks YOUR interest?
What did you notice this young student did that many don’t have the presence of mind to tackle?
What can we learn from this 12 year old?
This TED Talk was recorded in 2011--what do you think Thomas Suarez is up to now?
What do you think is happening in the video clip?
Who is on screen?
What's the story?
When and where does it take place?
Why is this happening?
How is it done?
Each person watching the video will likely have a different reaction from other watchers, or similar reactions in different measures.
Some may have immediately turned to a classmate or friend, looking at their reaction and enjoying the shared experience.
Some may have immediately started whispering questions, observations, narration, inferences, and hypotheses about how the video was put together.
Those who enjoy literature and fiction may have wondered about the story, and possibly imagined different events or a different ending.
Those who enjoy news about modern filmmaking and technology may have wondered about how the action was recorded, and have several ideas about special effects, green screens, and computer animation.
Did you respond with joy and wonder, or were there times when the music and lighting evoked suspense or tension?
6 Cs Reflections on "Sparked"
"Sparked," is a collaboration between the artistic performers of Cirque du Soleil, the mechanical engineering company ETH Zurich, and technology and design experts at Verity Studios. The "behind the technology" short documentary and interview answer some of the questions you may have been curious about.
The performance, the behind-the-scenes video clip, and your own private or shared questions help illustrate the ideas behind the 6Cs, or 21st-century skills, formulated by cognitive science professors Dr. Roberta Michnick Golinkoff and Dr. Kathy Hirsh-Pasek:
SPARK PROGRAM GOALS: 21st CENTURY SKILLS
In the course of the year, you will have the opportunity to reflect on the individual 21st century skills and to self-assess about all of the 6 Cs. In place of grades, the goal of the SPARK program is to show the growth in your dispositions and efforts toward higher level skills.