In my first job interview, one of the developers interviewing me asked, “Tell us how you do your laundry.”
Nonplussed, I listed the steps, trying to remember details and the order of operations, starting with sorting and ending with putting everything away.
When I finished, she smiled and said, “You’re going to be a great developer. You think logically and remember details, and that’s really all you need to be a programmer.”
Logic - that most necessary of critical thinking skills - is the foundation for making and building things. Yes, we can’t make anything without first imagining and designing the thing we want to make. But no matter what we want to create - computer code, a piece of clothing, a unicorn pillow that lights up, a company - logic gets us from idea to reality. And it always starts with the question “What will happen if I…..?”
I love to watch and help my children create things, because it teaches them how to think logically. That’s why creative maker kits are such a great gift for kids. And I admit I feel a some schadenfreude every time my kids rip open a box thinking they’re about to get a fabulous new toy, only to discover 82 disparate pieces that they then have to figure out how to put together. It’s not just a gift for their amusement. It’s a gift for their mind. The picture on the box shows the completed project. They have the parts. And that’s where all the fun begins - they must use logic to figure out how those parts become the whole.
Step by step, one connection after another, reading directions (or not), they assemble and test and fail and dismantle and reassemble and test and succeed. They get frustrated and give up and come back and try again and do better. They learn to answer the question “What will happen if I….?” as the results of their experiments appear before them. Soon, they can see in advance what will happen if they make a short circuit, what will happen if they sew the wrong seams together, what will happen if they glue things before they’re supposed to.
Slowly, what started out as a pile of components pulls together into a unified whole. Yes, they delight in accomplishing the goal of making the new toy, but they also learn to delight in building things. More importantly, they’ve learned that “What will happen if I…?” is a question they can answer in advance just by reasoning out the steps they need to follow. It’s a critical thinking skill that is essential to everyday life and lifelong dreams. In order to get to X, I will need to do Y.
And as they grow up, “What will happen if I….?” becomes an ever more important question. “What will happen if I become an engineer?” “What will happen if I change careers?” “What will happen if I found a company?” Having learned how to build small things - how to ask the questions whose answers are self-teaching steps - they will be able to reason out how to build big things. In other words, they will know how to make dreams reality.
At Princess Awesome and GoldieBlox, we are constantly thinking of what will happen if we continue to encourage girls to learn to be builders, thinkers, and makers. And thanks to logic, we know that if we do our part to help them learn logical thinking skills, they will grow up to be creative individuals who have the skills necessary to change their world through what they build too.
We're running a giveaway with GoldieBlox to empower girls to become builders and thinkers! Enter below!