Some comments on U2L6 Encode an experience


I am in the middle of this exercise and while I find it very difficult to teach I also am finding it to be really valuable.

Abstraction - I think this is the best opportunity to talk about “abstraction” in a way that makes sense to students. As they build the hierarchy tree, which is really hard to do, they have to deal with the specifics that they know well and other levels of the tree which are abstracted relative to the 5 components they are working on.

Work upside down - The hot tip I ran in to is to have the students who are a bit stuck work the tree upside down. So, if they start with “football”, I ask them to brainsorm 5 things they know about football to get the 5 components. Then those 5 components tend to map to something like “playing football” so parallel to that they can put “watching football”, “football video games”, “football as a profession” … and then above that they can put sports: “football”, “basketball”, “etc” I had trees that had “My life” at the top because they started with something the student spends their free time on and worked backwards to all things they spend time on. and so on…

Process NOT experience - The way I am able to make the most sense of this exercise is in the very large tech domain of process and data management. I worked at for 10 years and this is what I did - I helped organizations manage their processes so they could gain greater visibility in to what they did all day. The 5 components that go in the table are “fields” in a database. From that perspective, I can talk to students about “narrative” fields which are just random ASCII, or # fields, and , picklist fields which are critical to process management from the perspective of reporting on the data. That gives this activity a great bridge to the Data chapter.

Just some thoughts…