#SOL20 Finale

Despite the shimmering curtain of snow, the prediction of inches, possible ice for a topping, it’s hard to let go of the last few days of 2020.  There was happiness and joy in 2020 even though the year did not resemble any other year in my life.

I’ve been thinking about science.

systematic knowledge of the physical or material world gained through observation and experimentation (Dictionary.com link)

Even more surprising were synonyms for science:  art, technique, method, discipline.

One area of observation for over five years has been my study of grandchildren and it continues to amaze me on a regular basis.  The joy. The excitement. The fun. The surprises.  

Once upon a time . . .

When I was young, building toys were Lincoln Logs or  Tinker Toys.  I vaguely remember a wagon with alphabet blocks that also could have been used for building stacks. But inside toys seemed limited unless other toys were repurposed.

But what if toys had NOT evolved?

How would we build a triceratops like the one in the picture?  How would we form the base? Outline the body parts? And how would they stick together?

Magnetic blocks come in a variety of sizes and shapes and are great fun to explore what makes them stick together, or not!  Often they are tricky and require more than one person when building elaborate structures. Fun. Choice. Variety of sizes. Variety of shapes. Variety of colors.

Has the science of building toys changed?

A Tradition:  Gingerbread Houses

Where did gingerbread come from?  When did gingerbread houses appear in history?  Where?  Why?  When, where and why did they appear in your family history?  How has history impacted your view of gingerbread houses?

PBS provides a look at centuries of history here. And more practically, PBS shows you how to build a “gingerbread house” out of graham crackers here.

Traditional or Modern Gingerbread House?

Do you bake your own? Use graham crackers? Use pop tarts?  Does the “house material” matter if the goal is to BUILD the house?  Do you actually eat the house?  Or does it become a centerpiece?

Here’s a Mario Brothers castle created from a kit. Does it match your picture of a gingerbread house?  Why or why not? 

Has the “science of gingerbread houses” changed?

I love to find books, articles, blogs and research that I agree with or that support my own beliefs and reaffirms what I value in education. I’ve written about some of those in blog posts However, I’m super skeptical when anyone claims to have the ONE and only one best way to do anything. Those quick, easy solutions may sound wonderful but often are rushed, incomplete and based on assumptions that need further study. Here are two from this week.

“The Critical Story of the “Science of Reading” and Why Its Narrow Plotline Is Putting Our Children and Schools at Risk” link NCTE.org by Dorothy Suskind

So many important points in each of those four parts. Always more than one side to any story.

#DisruptTexts attack (https://disrupttexts.org/ )

Asks for a systematic, thoughtful review of which resources are and are not included in classrooms. Has never banned books. Has never advocated banning books.

Is it okay for students to still be reading the same “required texts” that we had to read – 40 to 50 years ago? Who should decide what books students read? How much input should students have?

When does SCIENCE truly inform instruction? (observation and experimentation)


Thank you, Two Writing Teachers, for this weekly forum. See you in 2021. Check out the writers and readers here.

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7 responses

  1. I love your question: What if toys had not evolved? It makes me think about the ways that play leads to innovation–for kids and for adults.

    1. And especially if the design of toys is more open ended? Easier innovation?

      And yet, a plain cardboard box can last for hours!

  2. Your posts are always provocative and linger with me. I saw the kerfuffle on Twitter about #disrupttexts and cannot believe how some people think we should not do better when we know better (thanks to Maya Angelou, whose original quote I used in my slice today). Evolution is hard for some and a fight sometimes.

    1. Evolution . . . Innovation . . . Change
      I wonder why they can become major triggers.

  3. Science moves forward. Sometimes slowly. Sometimes in leaps and bounds. The kinds of toys there are today are nothing like the toys that were around when I was a kid. Of course, the gap of knowledge between me as a kid and kids today is vast. With the advancements in science and technology teaching must keep up with what is going on.

  4. These same cycles of information have been part of a new daily routine for me it seems. Continuing to educate myself, listen, learn, and stay open. I too am skeptical when someone has the “answer” or magic bullet solution. Challenges can only be challenged when we understand the cause. #DisruptTexts seeks to unhinge the door blocking readers and the reading war needs to stop being a war and instead a conversation. Maybe someday. Great thinking here, Fran.

    1. Receptive to learning, re-envisioning, thinking, and always revising! Staying open seems to be a major challenge / roadblock / barrier!

      Thanks, Betsy!

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