The pattern of alternating messy thought with neat thought seems to come up across many disciplines. It disappoints me when I hear people waste time arguing for only one of these two modalities, as if only one of the two is always the way to operate. From Messy Thought, Neat Thought by May-Li Khoe
Great post (with wonderful illustrations of this thinking process) from May-Li.
I can so relate. Any talk, blog post, video, or lesson I work on goes through this alternating process. There’s absolute chaos for a while as I try things out, create prototypes that fail, and simply figure out what the heck I’m doing.
Then, once I realize I’ve got it, I start refining. I start deleting what doesn’t belong and push deeper into what does. And, often, I’ll hit another messy thinking time and end up changing direction yet again.
So give your students time to be both messy and neat in their thinking.