What do Dr. Suess and Stanford Public School have in common? …I really don’t know. But what I DO know is the Bozeman office had a fun time collaborating on an idea for a book that was more than a book for a new weight room addition/community center for Stanford, Montana.
We discovered that the Ag Ed department at Stanford teaches basic carpentry and welding skills so students can more effectively help out at local ranches. We also found out how difficult it is for small Montana schools to get funding for anything. Soo… (wait for it)… Light Bulb! What if we could present this project as being a part of their curriculum and ask the local community and contractors to donate time and materials to help get it built? Boom, right away the school was excited about the possibilities and the “idea” for the project was solidified – Learn By Doing.
But we didn’t want to just present a report to the school. We wanted to challenge ourselves to create something more integral to the idea. So we constructed a book using similar materials to what the building will use. We incorporated the text of the document and appendix in a way that forced you to interact with the book before you could read it. The user has to physically remove a steel plate cover before he/she can turn the first page. It forces you to interact with the book, to feel the materials, and to recognize that you are doing something different and new – you become aware that you are learning something by doing something.
We had to create two books for the school because one has to go to the State to prove we did our work. The other stays with the school. So we decided to NOT build the second book, but to include the pieces and instructions within the book about how it is assembled so the students, faculty, or staff at Stanford would have to build their copy themselves. We asked for feedback from the school on what they thought and will pass any comments from them on to you. And now we ask for feedback from you. Please share your comments.
P.S. No Whos were harmed in the writing of this blog.