Experiments

The sixth grade class exploded volcanoes today. I was there to chronicle the moment.

Teaching feels a bit like this sometimes. On the inside anyway.

Teachers lay the foundations for discovery and direct their kids toward information and then jump back when, BOOM, the kids just “get” it. It might happen in a class discussion, a perfect math sheet, a thoughtful project or an amazing presentation. The students are oblivious, but the teacher is jumping back on the inside. “Are they actually doing EXACTLY what they are supposed to be doing as students?”

My debate class (7th and 8th grades) did that to me last week in a discussion contrasting European vs. American gun control. I didn’t say a word for fifteen minutes while they deliberated the merits of strict control (apparently leads to higher rates of gun violence in certain European countries, but might prevent escalating violence) vs. no government control at all (takes away the fun of illicit ownership, allows practical experience, but does circulate a lot of guns). They were amazing. I was so proud. Not a single argument came from me. Everything came from their own research.

Teachers conduct experiments every day. Will this book excite them? Will they learn something from this project? Will this questions provoke further thought? It’s really nice when the experiment pays off with a BOOM.

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