Being more spatially-challenged in general, I always had trouble as a child comprehending concepts like mirror images, rotations, and geometry nets.
Fortunately, as a grew older, I learned that these are all just facets of broader concepts of scale and perspective. I’ve also benefited by recognizing their applications beyond mathematics–from art to city planning to interpersonal relationships.
So this week consists of a provocation to help our young learners begin with the big picture of scale and perspective, hopefully encouraging them to draw their own connections and conclusions.
The first is a fascinating video that lays out the entire history of the earth on a football field.
The second is a photo series by artist Matthew Albanese. He creates stunningly realistic landscapes using forced perspective, using materials from nutmeg to steel wool to fake fog. Head over to his site to view the collection of images, along with the incredible behind-the-scenes images and information on his process.
How do people use scale and perspective to help us see “the big picture?”
How does technology allow us new possibilities to show scale and perspective?
How do scale and perspective change the way we see the world?
What is our responsibility to use perspective in our lives?
How are scale and perspective connected?
How does perspective help us understand other people?
“The aim of all IB programmes is to develop internationally minded people who, recognizing their common humanity and shared guardianship of the planet, help to create a better and more peaceful world.”
While I taught at an IB (International Baccalaureate) we were encouraged to cultivate the 10 traits defined within the Learner Profile (inquirer, knowledgeable, thinker, communicator, principled, open-minded, caring, risk-taker, balanced, reflective).
This week’s provocation (appropriate for upper elementary and older) will look particularly at the open-minded quality. When I think of open-mindedness, cultural perspective readily comes to mind.
The first resource is one I’ve shared with my fifth graders in the past, and has made for some fascinating conversation. Graphic artist Yang Liu’s East Meets West helps students start to consider how our cultural differences influence the way people approach various situations (click link above for more of her images).
The second is the awe-inspiring story of Rais Bhuiyan, a Muslim American who was shot in the aftermath of 9/11, but who worked to save his assailant from death row. I particularly appreciate how this illustrates that whatever our differences, compassion can bring us unity, understanding, and healing.
How is open-mindedness related to cultures?
What is our responsibility for open-mindedness?
How does open-mindedness help with fearfulness (or other negative emotions)?
A while back, I shared a provocation to support one of the IB Primary Years Programme Units known as Who We Are. This week, I want to share one that can be used with How We Organize Ourselves. Take a look at this fascinating video to find out how the US went about the problem of an exponentially growing volume of mail.
How are problem-solving and organization connected?
How did the zip-code solution change over time?
How might future zip code solutions impact people?
Why do we keep changing the way we organize systems?
What is our responsibility to keep changing the way we organize systems?
So embedded are our own culture’s idiosyncrasies that we generally take them for granted. This is particularly true when it comes to our idioms. That’s why, when I came across this list of 40 idioms that don’t translate on TED-Ed, I just knew it would make an intriguing provocation.
Other resources for students inquiring into language might include this animated map of “how Indo-European languages may have evolved:”
Or this video, also from TED-Ed on how our languages evolve (might be a little complex for younger students, but you never know…):
Why do humans use figurative language?
How do you think idioms from certain countries are related to the way of life in that country?
How does language diversity affect our world?
How are human beings connected through language even when we speak different words?
How does becoming more fluent (readers and writers) in our own language help us? How does studying other languages help us?
Last week, I shared an inquiry into tech use provocation that teachers can use with their students to consider its effects on them as individuals, as families, as communities, and as a world.
I also spent part of last Monday running some PD sessions at my old school (one on inquiry, and two on tech use).
The most rewarding moment during my tech sessions was when teacher told me as she left, “You made me think differently about Twitter!” Mission accomplished!
Of course, Twitter is just one piece in the puzzle of effective and innovative edtech, but there really is something special about it when it comes to becoming global citizens as teachers and students! So this week’s provocation is going to consist of examples of how Twitter can impact student learning, a worthwhile possible investigation for both teachers and students…
Example 1: These 3rd graders found this animal skeleton on their campus. Study “Approach C” for their Twitter use example.
Example 2: 7th grade teacher, Pernille Ripp, searching for refugees to Skype with her students. See the breathtaking results of that Tweet here.
I am looking for people who are willing to share their experiences as refugees or working with refugees in a skype call with my students
“We tend to panic too much about technological change. Maybe this time the technology is, in fact, going to have all these disastrous effects that everyone’s worried about. But children have always been the first adopters of new technologies, and the previous generation has always been terrified when the new technology was introduced…
But school-age children have been gossiping and interacting with one another and trying to figure out peer relationships for as long as we’ve been human. And the way that they’ve done that might have been just whispering and talking in that hunter-gatherer culture, or passing notes in the culture that I grew up in, or texting in the culture that children are growing up in now. I don’t think there’s any particular reason to believe that the technology is going to make that worse or more problematic than it was before.”
So, this week’s provocation is to let those children consider both sides of this tech issue themselves. The first resource is a photo series by Eric Pickersgill entitled “Removed.”
The second is a video I’ve shared before, but that I think would pair well with the above resource for this provocation.
Why do people have different perspectives about technology use?
How does tech use impact your life?
How does tech use impact your family’s life?
How does tech use impact your school/community function?