Sort Yourselves Out

What if No One's in Charge? 

This is a fun, active exercise that is best done outdoors and demonstrates, in a experiential way, the principles of self-organization, emergence and feedback. It can also be extended into a design exercise using chalk on the schoolyard blacktop.


How Good Are You at Following a Recipe?

Three of the most important parameters that we can study in nature are  structure, energy, and information. DNA is the ultimate source of information in nature and delivers the instructions for proteins to construct the living world. Its message is more of a recipe than a blueprint, imparting step-by-step instructions to many different proteins, rather than a grand plan.

In this lesson, competing teams race to put together an unknown structure made of “Zoobs”, a commercial plastic parts toy building set, by reading sets of instructions provided by the teacher. Along the way they will experience the challenges of remembering under pressure, teamwork, and something like the "aha" moment that Watson and Crick experienced when they realized, through a physical model, that DNA could be shaped in only one particular shape.

You can download a PDF with images of two structures by going to the attachment section (requires site registration and login).

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