Monday, May 10, 2010

Seiryo Takekawa's Tarumpty Tum Tum (or "Tumbler") as Paper Metaphor Teaching Tool

NOTE: If I have the energy for it, the video might see re-editing, as I notice where I get redundant in the latter half of the video...UGH!

(Video Transcript, more or less):
After reading some O-List mail asking for a simple model to teach as part of a presentation on origami, and after seeing the video Gilad Aharoni posted of the tarumpty tum tum tumbler
in action, lined up like dominos, it gave me the idea that this model could be perfect as a transformation mechanism. From Pg 22 in Joel Bauer's book, How to Persuade People Who Don't Want to be Persuaded, a transformation mechanism is,
"It's a trick with a point. A mechanism puts people in a pleasure state, and that's where you want them. Off business, on pleasure. It sets a receptive atmosphere. When you use a mechanism, people are more likely to lower their defenses and give your ideas an honest hearing. A mechanism is a metaphor made physical, and thus made memorable and persuasive."

Joel Bauer is a mentalist and pitch-man who's business is to generate crowds for Fortune 500 companies- the very best at what he does. He's also a friend of mine who got into origami and saw the value of simple models as workable paper metaphors.
While I was into super complex origami at the time, Joel, at his 1st OUSA Convention saw something relatively simple- deg farrelly's flapping butterfly- folded for him to a storigami (origami teaching tale), written by Anne Bedrick. Joel immediately saw the potential of that story to transform lives in deep and meaningful ways, as a transformation mechanism to get across the message- any message- he desired. He adapted his own story for the corporate world; and also one day challenged me to come up with a story on the spot, related to something I was familiar with- gymnastics- as a means of getting across the concept and principle behind the transformation mechanism.

So here, about 6 yrs later, another model I've all but ignored for all of my origami life, suddenly has great appeal to me and I am seeing it with new eyes. I am seeing it in the same light that Joel Bauer saw deg farrelly's model and origami storytelling.

The idea I came up with, to apply to my own situation, is to use it as a teaching vehicle for my gymnasts (and conveniently enough, the tarumpty tum tum is also known as "the tumbler").

At Broadway Gymnastics, for the past few months we've been having what we call "the word of the week" to help get the kids to think about the attributes and attitudes needed to cultivate a productive and vibrant gymnastics experience. Sometimes straight lectures on work ethic, proper nutrition, importance of conditioning, etc. just doesn't sink in the way you'd one ear, out the other. Tranformation mechanisms are a great delivery system for stimulating the mind into being more receptive to learning and to absorbing ideas and taking lessons to heart.

So here's my idea for a summer camp game for the team girls:

Divide the girls up into teams.

Teach them how to fold the tumbler. This requires concentration, listening skills, memorization, thinking...ingredients needed in gymnastics as well. After folding, you explain what it is and what it does. For fun and to make it easier to tell which side should be at the top and which at the bottom, add googly sticker eyes (or draw them on). Yes, it "dumbs down the model" and removes the brain stimulation of kids (and adults) of actually having to understand which side of the model is top-heavy in layers; but the benefit is that it makes it quicker and more obvious visually to know which side should be up (kids can also have fun drawing the rest of the face on the model). I think so long as the kids understand why it moves the way it does, drawing eyes (or using some other visual means of instantaneous recognition of top and bottom) on should enhance the momentum of the occasion. Actually, having them draw the faces on themselves will make them have to think about which side goes up and which is down.

You then give the teams 5 minutes to make as many as they can (each team can also have a specific color to represent them).

After the 5 minutes of mass folding, the teams must then work together to figure out how to space the tumblers to make as many of them fall down as possible. This and helping each other fold the model utilizes one of the concepts we want them to value- one of team-work.

As a transformation mechanism, it can be a lesson on teamwork, time management/waste, listening skills to directions, etc. Maybe write on each ttt a word such as "time management", "conditioning", "parent", "Coach", "visualization", "role models/gymnasts who have come before", "work ethic", "dedication"- all those concepts and people in your lives who come together to lead you toward the path of success, with the last ttt domino knocking over your end goal.

Maybe also have the kids/folders write their own word choices on the models- whatever they deem important to achieving knocking down the final domino.

If nothing else, this should be a lot of fun.

Side note: I flubbed the Bedrick teaching tale in the video (hadn't rehearsed it, nor vocalized it for 2 or 3 yrs!), but you can find the original version here. Also, I know the video I made could easily have been cut down to 2 minutes in length; but I'm tired of editing and just wanted to share some of how I'm utilizing the model, personally.


Vignesh said...

Many thanks Michael. Whilst the storigami for the Flapping Butterfly was already on the list for my "simple, but WOW" model, seeing you display again in this video, has solidified it for me!



Anne said...

I just saw your video. I am Anne Bedrick, the writer of the butterfly story! My husband actually introduced Joel Bauer to origami! I enjoyed your video very much. I am a teacher and I like the use of the tumbler as a metaphor for working together. I might use it! =D


The WordSmith from Nantucket said...


Thanks for posting your thread on Origami-L, for which the germination of this video owes itself.

Good luck on your presentation!


It's an honor to have your weigh in your two cents here; and forgive me for the less-than-stellar telling of your story. I once had it memorized with better delivery than what is presented here. The nice thing is, I've rediscovered my appreciation for your origami tale, and am practicing it, once again.

I added a new post with a longer cut of the footage that appears in the tarumpty tum tum video.