ModularityWorking together is better

Modularity refers to interchangeability of individual parts across products.

Modularity refers to interchangeability of individual parts across like-products. For example, the wheels and doors from one 1966 Ford Mustang will fit any other 1966 Ford Mustang. Those wheels and doors are said to be modular parts. Modularity is not strictly necessary, but it is beneficial enough to strongly consider for novice or mixed ability learners. Arguably, it allows for a more complex product to be made because modular projects are predictable and therefore pilotable. It also encourages teamwork by creating a shared goal, as students can make stacks of modular components before assembling them.

“I enjoyed the production line aspects of it, everybody pitching in, doing different aspects and finally each settling in on a specific machine we claimed as ours… …and made it our own”

In groups of mixed ability students it can distribute the manufacture of every product across the group, so that every student will have the access to the necessary components to complete the product. A student who wants to focus on one modular part can do so, and can avoid modular parts that requires tools they are uncomfortable with. When a group of students works as a team to produce an undefined number of projects, modularity can let students work at their own pace. One student might make more parts than another, but they all go into a stack, so it doesn’t really matter. Modularity can lets students work at work at their own pace. In the end, there will be enough modular parts if everyone works together.

In the video below, the camera pans over modular parts, and finishes on an assembled product.

The camera moves slowly across a table, showing stack and stacks of sets of identical, modular parts. At the end of the pile is a completed project, which is in fact an assemblage of one modular part from each stack of the parts shown from the start.

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