video booth launch

Hi everyone! I’m Uyen and I’m working with the kids at Brightworks to help them document their learning. Two weeks ago Gever and I built a new structure in the corner of the cork floor, a cozy, private, one-person retreat with a laptop inside. It’s our Video Booth! This is where the kids and collaborators (and parents and visitors — really, everyone is welcome) will be dropping in week after week to say what’s on their minds. Here’s how it works. You step into the booth alone, you face the laptop’s welcoming eye, you push the red button… you speak!

A lot of what the kids will be talking about is salt. Each week a new question will go up in the booth, the idea being that if you’re going to talk to a computer it’s only fair that the computer start the conversation. The first set of questions were “What is salt?” and “Is salt good for you or bad for you?” The kids weighed in on this topic, and their answers were inventive, thoughtful, insightful and often quite funny. We’ll be blogging excerpts weekly from now on and we hope once comfort levels are established, kids will feel free to express themselves on non-salty subjects: what they’re excited about, what they’re stuck on, etc. The goal is to build a record of this Arc in the voices of those who created it.

So here we go! Video Booth Round One: What is salt?

The “twins” tell us what salt is made of and what it’s good for:

Henry gives us an action-packed molecular account of how salt is made:

Video Booth Round Two: Is salt good for you or bad for you?

Evan thinks this is a trick question:

Frances believes eating the right amount of salt is good for you:

Isaac describes how salt can be good for you and bad for you in large quantities:

Well, we didn’t intend it as a trick question, but Evan’s observation points out a common theme among our first group of Video Boothers: that salt is good and bad, that it’s possible for two contradictory ideas both to be true, that degrees and amounts matter when judging whether something is or isn’t. Useful concepts to keep in mind when thinking about salt—and lots of other things!