Are we ready for complex,integrated, experiential programs?
Are you eating your broccoli? I love broccoli. I eat it steamed, plain and truly enjoy it. I realize this habit is not in the norm. Give it to your kids like this and they will eat a little bit. They may even grow to enjoy broccoli but somehow it doesn’t appeal like mac and cheese. So, how do you make it appealing? Pasta with cheese and broccoli. Suddenly those few florets become a bowl.
The same is true with school. Give math and science interest and appeal, let kids experience it and suddenly it’s the best thing in the world. You can ask the essential questions and answer them in practical terms. What is viscosity? Is the liquid thin or thick? How fast does it flow? Measure the results of chocolate sauce, honey, water, ketchup, maple syrup and caesar dressing. Compare your results. Draw a graph. Study the properties of viscous liquids and learn what it means. Chemistry comes to life. What is an emulsion? Make salad dressing, mayonnaise. What does acid do to food? Put lemon on raw fish. What happens? Learn about measurements and proportions in certain recipes. How much baking powder does it take so a cake will rise? What does yeast do? Why does it make bread rise? It’s basic cooking we need to do to live. It’s math and science to experiment. Bring learning to life. Stimulate imagination and creativity.
Everyone knows this type of learning works. It only makes sense. Why are we afraid to try it? Instead a teacher talks about these things, how they happen, and rarely lets the kids make the mess to do it. We use science kits and traditional labs. All these things are readily available at little cost with a big pay off. It really isn’t complicated. It takes planning, materials and thought. There are many avenues to a variety of learning as I describe.
Are we there yet? Can we give up the book learning and take the learning into the practical realm of discovery? Can we let students attempt to make mayonnaise and add lemon juice and see what happens? Let them brown meat and ask, why does it get brown?
Stimulate the senses, imagination and curiosity. It’s easier than you think and it will engage students. They will remember the “WHY” and the “HOW.”
Be practical. Bring reality into the classroom. Trial and error and failure lead to discovery and success.