6 Activity – Thinking Like An Architect

Wouldn’t it be neat if you had a personal robot whose job was to put away your clothes, books, toys, games, and other things?

Let’s start by analyzing how you organize the things you wear on your feet (your “footwear”).   If your footwear are not organized now, and instead they are in a messy pile in your closet or under your bed,  then you should design an organizing system that would organize them.  You should select some organizing principles that use properties or characteristics of the organized things.

For example, you might organize your “footwear” into three categories for “shoes,” “sneakers,” and “boots,” and you could further organize them in pairs for your left and right feet.

If you are thinking like an ARCHITECT,  what matters are the categories and organizing principles you have selected.

Now comes the fun part.  You don’t have to put your footwear away.  You get to give your robot instructions for putting them into some physical arrangement, just as an architect gives a blueprint to construction workers. These instructions might be like these:


  1. Put the paired boots on the floor at the back of the closet
  2. Arrange the paired shoes in a row in front of the boot row
  3. Arrange the paired sneakers in a row in front of the shoe row

If your robot is very smart and has good color perception, you could instruct it to arrange the footwear within each row by color, with light colors on one end of the row and dark colors on the other end. The best part of thinking like an architect when you organize is that you can be creative, and not worry at first about how to do the work of putting things in order.

ACTIVITY: Now, do the same kind of analysis and design for your books. Design some categories and choose some organizing principles for arranging the books in each category. Next, create the instructions for your personal robot so that it can put the books away on a shelf or in a bookcase. It might help your robot put the books away if you made a drawing — a BLUEPRINT — with labels and instructions on the drawing.


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"The Discipline of Organizing" for Kids Copyright © 2022 by Robert J Glushko is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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