Experimental Pedagogical Material
Theo Jansen Educational Kit

A series of activities and downloadable pedagogical supports to explore and discover the wealth of content presented by Dutch artist Theo Jansen in the documentary The Irrational Optimist. Activities that invite teachers to carry out with their students both inside and outside the classroom as well as families, youths and adults who wish to further explore on creativity, art and science, co-design, and the environment.

Dear Irrational Optimist,  

Today you have reached this page, surely not by chance, perhaps by a mathematical equation or an algorithm. Thus, you have become the right person to be a guide and explorer of the experience contained in this page, where you will find a series of activities that were created as a complement to the documentary The Irrational Optimist to learn and experience different sensations when bringing together art with nature. 

With this set of activities, we want to invite you to find new ways of observing, relating and becoming aware of the territory you inhabit. We hope that the teaching-learning instance with your students, families, or friends will thus become a creative laboratory to expand your ability to observe, question the usual ways of doing things, connect with nature and be inspired to transform current realities through creativity.

The idea is to observe, re-learn and discover new ways of perceiving, based on the questions, the creative processes and the multidisciplinary work that Theo Jansen reveals in the documentary. After having presented the documentary in your classroom, or simply after having seen the documentary in your home, together with this educational guide, the following curiosity posters propose steps to collectively create an artistic action: (Content currently only available in Spanish, we are working to have them available in English soon!)

1.- Perceive and explore: an artistic experiment
*Download poster here

2.- Observe and think: a group reflection on the territory
*Download poster here 

3.- Act and create: a collective action on our experience in nature
*Download poster here

The posters can be used as a navigation chart. It is important to propose, undo and rebuild the exercises according to the characteristics of the group and its context. Below, some recommendations when carrying out the activities:

  • Hang the posters onto a wall, in a place that is visible to everyone inside the classroom or in your home.
  • Have in mind that everything is an experiment, and therefore a learning process.
  • Always remind yourself and those participating that we are all interconnected and part of nature,  contributing something different and important.
  • Be open up to experiencing uncertainty and trust the process.
  • Be aware, attentive to all your senses.
  • Enjoy the process.

If you are interested in presenting the documentary in your school and/or viewing it at home, and if you have questions or would like to receive more supporting material in relation to these activities, you can write to us at:  educacion@fundacionmaradentro.cl.

We also invite you to share the results and experiences with us, through photographs or testimonials. In this way, we can also share them with other educational communities. We hope that new ways of perceiving, creating and relating to nature, lead you and your students to become new irrational optimists.