This week we are involved in a precursor to integrative thinking. Students are exploring bad ideas and looking for value. We follow a process that begins with an initial puzzling idea and leads to uncovering deeper questions.
We’ve been examining the “what if we turned the gym into a chicken coop” idea, looking for value. Students generated over 100 ideas about how that might be valuable. We then clustered and looked for significance. 4 ideas emerged in one class:
1. What if we designed school in a way that allowed us to use our hands and real tools to build and learn skills such as carpentry?
2. What if could learn to run real businesses that led to real skills rather than just always pretending?
3. How might we add more fun to our day?
4. How might we create more opportunities for crafts and creative expression through design and developing skills such as sewing?
Students pondered as they tried to imagine what school might look like if we redesigned it for things they valued.
Then I asked them: in those four ideas where are math and language? Do you see how we could learn in a different way but still develop those skills? Their response? No. They didn’t see it. There was a conceptual disconnect (at least in that initial conversation) between how they perceive math and language as subjects and “school” and how those subjects are embedded in the everyday. That was eye-opening.
I can’t form a conclusion at this point about what this means. It could be that it was Monday morning or the way I framed the question. It is certainly something that requires further exploration.