contents OBBL Help Collaborating on OBBL OBBL Ideas

Math Cats has enjoyed collaborating with Maurici Carbó Jordi to bring you Math Cats' OBBL. Maurici developed the original OBBL program and was delighted by our addition of the cat blocks and the help and ideas pages. (Maurici wrote early on: "My english is very poor, and I experience a lot of difficulties to explain myself.")

The javascript code needed to be lightly adapted to permit the changes, and both Maurici and Wendy of Math Cats worked on these changes.

Maurici accepts our reset button (the magic wand below the working space), but he will not place a reset button on his own version of OBBL. His reasoning fascinates us. Here are a few of the ideas Maurici shared with Math Cats in explaining his thinking. They are shared here with his permission:

"You are free! I only send you my point of view.
But I have some long term ideas, and stupid principles, but I must adapt to you.
And it is difficult to me..."

Then Maurici explained that he likes buttons which convey a universally understood concept. But resetting is not a universal idea:

"I don't like reset buttons.
I will explain:

You can't reset a denominator!
What is to reset a fraction? if we reset strictly, it means 0/0
What's this? Nobody understand. And computers don't like it.
In my fractions application, I avoid reset, and denominator jumped from 1 to -1, and nobody take note of that.
When we are resetting a fraction, what is the best reset:
It can not be 0/0
It only can be
0/1 or 0/-1 ?
What is better?
Nobody knows!...

There are a lot of other reasons.
And remember: I'm not a monster!
From now I must will add: I'm not a Martian (A little green man)
I explain:

When I see an little boy with his father or his mather, sometimes I think:
Look at this little boy (or girl) He loves his father (or his mother) at all!
It takes a few time, he didn't know what was a father or a mother.
But he/she saw his father or mother for the first time! He didn't know that before!
His father or mother can be a green-trumpeted ears and 3eyed, he loves them the same!

I think, I must be able to teach maths to a little green-trumpeted-3eyed little boy/girl/x

That's why I don't like reset buttons. (Can't use all time)
That's why I don't like baskets to throw things. (They aren't in Mars)

That's a joke!
But a serious joke!

Don't change nothing, I like your reset button [At this point, the button displayed just the word, reset]. But, I don't know. We must think any way to express the reset idea graphically. But I don't know now. We will find it! Or you will. A thing that Martians can understand at first!"

and more:

"I was thinking:
The reset button can be an earthquake! (we symbolize an earthquake (?))
And all the blocks disappeared row by row, at each iteration!
All the figures go down 1 row, and at next iteration we make disappear another row.
But bubbles and thumbtacks don't disapear!
We must make another reset button to make disappear bubbles. (make explode at the top (a button like a needle))
And thumbtacks must be eliminated one by one:
The right punishment for to use them!
It's only an idea!
(Obbl Release 2?)

Architects like to play with ideas!"

Wendy replied in part:
"I think your ideas about the earthquake and the pin popping bubbles are great... and the punishment for using thumbtacks!! I think it would be hard to portray a simple graphic of an earthquake. You could also consider a cliff, as if they are falling over the cliff and out of sight. What do you think of that? or maybe a waterfall, as if they are spilling off the page?"

from Maurici:
"That's why there's no a reset button in my obbl
obbl allows destruction of your constructions.
if you make a structure and you clear one brick, it may fall.
It may be happy, but the people must discover for themselves.
I don't want suggest an idea of destruction with my obbl.
That's why there's not a button to destroy.
I don't want to do that button..."

and then:

"I was thinking:
Maybe reset concept is a very much bad thing than I thought.
In some religions when you confess your sins,
Your sins are resetted.

Some people do the worse things in my society!
Some people do incredible things.
But their sins are resetted every day.

I don't like the reset concept.
Do you understand me?"

from Wendy:
"Maurici, Maurici, Maurici.
I do not think of it this way at all.
I think of it as a fresh sheet of paper.
Maybe we *love* our first sheet of paper, but it is full.
It is time to try something new.
We don't want to keep crowding the first sheet. It is finished!
What would the world be like if we were only given one sheet of paper???
Surely you do not want the OBBL users never to start over again???
A fresh start is a lovely thing.
It does not mean that the first construction was "sinful" and must be destroyed or forgotten! Maybe it has been saved with care and pride.
And even if not, what if it was a friendly exploration? That should be a good thing, and not something to be saddled with forever.
We learn from our first efforts. We do not erase them from memory. But then it is fun to have a fresh start so that we can benefit from what we have learned.
It is the same way with teachers and students and a new school year...

I have given you the analogy of a fresh sheet of paper. Here are some others:
clean sheets on a bed
waving a magic wand
going to bed tired and waking refreshed
starting a new chapter in a book
starting a new book
starting a new day
blowing a dandelion and scattering its seeds to the winds

Why must you equate "reset" with destruction? or insincere repentance?
Just as the blocks are happy and the cats are happy, we can think of a new page, a white board, as happy too... not as a cop-out or destruction or a coverup of sins.

There is nothing violent or destructive at Math Cats..."

from Maurici:
"I am thinking about what is necessary to teach or not.
For me, the obbl board is an analogy of the mind!
At left: ideas, at right: ideas at work.

We must be careful about what ideas are at left.
We must be careful about how work them at right!

In that context, what is a reset button?
I don't know!...

You must understand:
I am thinking in a wider thing as a button!
To create things from nothing, you must have hard limitations.
You must! create your own limitations!

If you will build a building, and you haven't a building site, it's impossible to think in a good house.
If your customer says: Make a house as you want! It don't worries me!
The result of that is a bad result.

I need to know my clients deeply, (I prefer to say my 'patients'), and then, I can to 'prescribe' an specific building!

There are fertile ideas, and dead ideas.
reset button is a dead idea, but the 3-button-earthquake-needle-to-bubbles-erasing-to-thumbtacks-recycling-to, it's happier.
(I think so!)"

Maurici added in tiny print at the end of this message:

"( I was thinking: if secret services are looking in our letters, they must be astonished! This short comment is for them: We are two normal human being, thinking across the world, about how to make a little and happy toy! If you want, you can visit my page: It's a fantastic site! and you can visit also It's better!, and your kids will enjoy with it.)"

After all this, until Maurici has a chance to develop his 3-button earthquake/bubble-popping/thumbtack-recycling idea for resetting OBBL, we will simply click a Math Cats magic wand to make our constructions disappear. Poof!

(Click for a fresh OBBL board!)

to return to the OBBL Architecture Blocks or get inspired with    OBBL Ideas

Collaborating on OBBL page © 2002 - by Wendy Petti of Math Cats and Maurici Carbó Jordi. All rights reserved.