The S.T.E.M and Arts blog by Aurelius Raines II

The S.T.E.M and Arts blog by Aurelius Raines II
"Producers, not Consumers"

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Building Better Thinkers

This week we started our 3 month journey to build better thinkers.
My course is designed to take the skills your children have been learning for the past 5 to 8 years and teach how to use them. Unfortunately, this is severe lack in education and has been for the past 100 years.
Traditionally children are taught rote skills, or “math by rote” as it was phrased by Louis Benezet. (Please click on his name to read about his experiment in Math education.) By high school our children will have mastered geometry, trigonometry, and calculus and still have no idea what it is or how it’s useful. It has been said that the longer our children stay in school the less they know how to reason.
Well that all ends in my classroom. There are no math books, no readers, and no answer keys. There is only the application of skills to real life problems.
The first problem we are tackling is what to do with our art supplies. I would like the markers and pencils in containers… yet I would not like to spend money on them.
So I thought we would make our own containers from cardboard. So I’ve been teaching the children to take what they’ve learned about geometry and measuring to build useful boxes. We’ve already built prototypes and now we are customizing the design for each medium.
I hope that projects like these will answer the question, “Why am I learning this stuff?”
Please see the lecture I have embedded to Sir Ken Robinson provoking and funny lecture on changing the way we think about education. 

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