Learning by mistake

It is a method.  It is a long, slow and frustrating method but it does work.  For example my latest project is learning Unity.  Unity uses C# as its scripting language.  No big deal there, I know enough C# to get me in trouble so I should be OK.  I am learning through doing so I am building a little 2D platform game just as a learning exercise.  I got the basics down so I figured I would get cute and build a recycling elevator to carry my little character up to a higher platform.  Many hours and several days later the elevator still drops like a rock.  No continuous up and down like I want it to.  I have perused all the Googled suggestions, tried all the sample code and even, at this point, understand the code.  Owl boogers.  This should work.  I am at the point of just staring at the screen.  It works!  (The staring at the screen part, not the elevator part.)  Somehow I made my elevator platform a Rigid Body.  Rigid Bodies are subject to gravity.  If the platform is subject to gravity it falls off the screen.  I kill the Rigid Body component and the elevator works.

How has this helped?  I rewrote the code in about 5 different ways and I understand them all.  Before I was just cut-and-pasting with only a vague understanding of how this worked.  I know to watch out for the Rigid Body thing.  I know after hours of trying different code and scattering print statements all through the code to see what is happening that sitting back and staring at the screen is not a bad thing to do.  I know that even though I spent many hours trying to find the solution when it was actually something really simple having nothing to do with the code I was troubleshooting, I came away knowing a lot more than I did going in to the problem.

I also learned that although making mistakes like this leads to great learning experiences, it is still a royal pain in the ass.

Now I have to figure a way of teaching this technique to my students in a way that they do not think I am more of an idiot than they already know I am.

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