Why I started

Hello there. A little introduction before I start.

My background is in mechanical engineering but hardly practiced it in reality (as in design or mechanical aspects of it). After graduating from Cal, I went to work for Bechtel as a project controls engineer (project management, heavy emphasis on cost and schedule). I worked on many interesting projects - nuclear power projects, coal power projects, environmental clean-up projects, shrimp farm, a Saudi City, etc. When I moved to the semiconductor industry, I worked as a project engineer, project manager and product marketing manager.

Once I had children, I became more interested in finding ways to challenge and engage them in the learning process. My children were very curious (they still are), and even as toddlers. I used to give them things, household stuff, to keep them occupied while I was busy with making dinner, etc. During this time, I was often surprised at how much I had underestimated what they could understand and accomplish.

When my first child started 1st grade, I decide to conduct science projects in his class every week. In kindergarten, I volunteered to help with art projects and read Korean fairy tales to the students. Now, it wasn't "science" every week. I've taught the students Korean alphabet and some key words, along with how to write their names and few basic phrases. Other times, it was more craft orientated project, constructing an origami box.

At the beginning (~2007 and 2008), I've searched the web for projects I could easily do in a classroom setting. I wanted to print out instructions and take it into the classroom with very little outside trouble-shooting time. But I was surprised to find that I couldn't find projects like that on the web. 

I had volunteered my time with the Engineer's Week while I was at Bechtel, and I knew there were projects that were fun to do and learn a lot from each time. So, I started with the two projects I had used - Marshmallow structures and paper column project (this I haven't done, yet, but it's fantastic!). Then I kept adding on, initially with variations with the project, but and some new and fantastic ones (like Strawkets). 

I've noticed that there are a lot of science websites and blogs online, and I'll share what I thought were some of the best ones later on. What's special about my projects is that the supplies are very inexpensive and readily available almost anywhere around the world. My goal is to make science and math fun for every child, but more importantly, I want to nurture their natural sense of curiosity and encourage their love of learning.

I try to begin every class talking about or asking students to define the three word I love - Curiosity, Creativity, and Perseverance. Then I ask them to push their creative envelope and Fail Spectacularly! 

Fail Spectacularly is the motto for many of my more challenging projects. 

So, let's fail spectacularly together and learn!