Where do we find inspiration? Why is that that one moment, ideas seem to sweep us away, and the next, they feel hopelessly out of reach? I’ve shared other provocations on finding wonder and inspiration before, but it’s such an essential flame to keep burning that I’m sharing another!
Color. Seems like one of the more straight-forward aspects of our world, but lately, I’ve come across several resources to make me wonder. And since that’s what these provocation posts are all about — inviting wonder — I thought it would be fitting to dedicate a post to color.
At first glance, you might think an inquiry into color would only have applications in art, but it is much more rooted in the social and physical sciences than I would have guessed! So take a look and see what might inspire your students to dig into the deeper concepts for their next unit!
Resource #1: The Black Book of Colors by Menena Cottin & Rosana Faria
How do you explain color to someone who can’t see? A fascinating picture book of raised images to represent the different colors!
Resource #2: “Kids Describe Color to a Blind Person” by WatchCut Video
Speaking of color and blindness, check this video out of kid attempting to explain it to a man who is blind!
Resource #3: Colorscope series from CNN
The Kid Should See This has compiled all the videos into one page here.
Resource #4: The World’s Deadliest Colors by TedEd
How does color work in our society?
How have the perspectives on color changed over time?
What are reasons humans care about color?
How has human fascination with color impacted our world over time?
How is color related to perspective?
What is the relationship between color and human health?
This week’s provocation that, at face value, may seem a little more abstract, but that has a wide range of applications. You might be beginning a unit about inventors, or perhaps one on algebra, or maybe even some creative writing. Whatever the case, there is power in beginning a unit in a way that is a little less obvious, and a little more mysterious. The intrigue not only helps to hook our students’ interest, but it provokes deeper questions. This in turn leads them to broader concepts that tend to carry more relevance, meaning, and universality (at least, more than the compartmentalized memorize-and-forget content they might otherwise prioritize).
So with this introduction, I share two resources on thinking outside the box!
#1: “It’s Different From What you Expected” Video series by Daihei Shibata
We stick so closely to the known facts and conventions all in the name of preparation (whether for testing or for becoming grown-ups in general) that I wonder if we sometimes limit our own capacity to push what might be possible in the future…
Resource #1: How to Unboil an Egg, by Ted Ed
Years ago, to help my students better understand the difference between physical and chemical change, I created a Prezi that included frying eggs as a clear irreversible change because it is a chemical change. But in the video below, the word “yet” simply radiates the pioneering spirit that has brought and continues to bring most scientific advances to the world.
Resource #2: Balderdash!: John Newbery & the Boisterous Birth of Children’s Books.
This picture book will take you and your students back to a time when the accepted custom was for children only to read books of rules, study, or religion — until John Newbery changed all that.
What does it mean to be a pioneer?
How does pioneering differ across different subjects (science, history, etc.). How is it the same?
What is our responsibility to ask questions?
Why might some worry about questioning the way things are already done?
As I sat wondering what to do with all the plastic Easter eggs from last month (and what becomes of the surely millions of eggs sold every year), the idea for this provocation was hatched… (pun intended!).
This is part of a series of of IB PYP units of inquiry provocations. For more, click here.
The IB PYP unit of “How We express ourselves centers around “An exploration of the way which we discover and express our nature, ideas, feelings, beliefs, and values through language and the arts.”
When I taught at a PYP school, I associated this mainly with communication mediums such as painting and poetry. But the more I think about how our world is evolving, the more I realize that “how we express ourselves” has boundless possibilities.
And it’s not just the fact that we have a large volume of choices that matters. It’s that, if we have a more open mind toward change, that volume can allow our children to shape their self-expression/communication –and with it, their futures — in ways that are unprecedented and literally world-changing.
With that in mind (and a bit of humor below), here are 3 resources to help your students inquire into the nature of how we express ourselves in a 21st century connected world.
“The skills we need most in today’s world, in any profession, boil down to being human. Basically the qualities that machines don’t have…We’ve arrived at a time when your human skills are just as important as your knowledge.” (Curiosity, Creativity, Initiative, Multi-disciplinary thinking, Empathy).
Resource #2: “Rosie Revere, Engineer” by Andrea Beaty and David Roberts
I recently came across the following image from one of my favorite comics, The Awkward Yeti, by Nick Seluk:
The modes of communication have undergone such dramatic, exponential change in the past couple of decades that it makes sense that communication itself is also undergoing change. But even as language gets sometimes stripped away to basic emojis, it’s significant to examine the enduring principles of powerful word choice.