One of Gever’s foundational principles for Brightworks is to cultivate memorable learning experiences with children. Remember when we practiced letter formation using shaving cream? Or when we drew that hopscotch on the sidewalk? Or when we gathered rocks from all over the school to make our labyrinth? Or our first glimpse of roots growing from the potato cuttings in our flower boxes? Not to boast, but I feel like we’ve had so many of those this year, and lots happened this week.
We’re working on making these mummies/casts/sculptures of our body parts. They’re 3D, pretty sturdy, see-through, and begging to get filled up with something…
Pi Day at the Exploratorium!
We’ve been talking about our brains as muscles, the persistence of identity, and the theories and experiments of Carol Dweck and Jean Piaget in particular. So has Amanda Oberski in her weekly class on developmental psychology! This week, she’s been hanging out with the Teal Band. So, they got to to try out running Piaget’s tasks on some actual children. We tried a few conservation tasks–number, length, volume, mass–and the mountain task which examines visual perception and empathy. It was awesome to have experiments done on our own brains! Plus, we had a really interesting conversation with our scientists about their results and what these results about the development of our brains. It was an awesome reminder that we are all different, growing and changing.
We’re working on reading biographies, and discussing them in book clubs that include all students in the lower school. These discussions are always so memorable; this week we talked about similarities and differences between the people we are reading about. One thing we learned: MLK Jr. and James Baldwin both fought for civil rights, but one encouraged non-violent discourse, while the other thought that perhaps the time had come for more forceful action.
And then we went to the Cal Academy on Thursday morning! We focused on the ‘Becoming Human’ exhibit, and also had some choice time to wander around the rainforest, aquarium and earthquake displays. Building on our exploration of human evolution for the past few weeks, we had an AWESOME discussion of which species we think can first be called Human. Some said Lucy, an australopithecus afarensis, was Human because, despite her smaller brain, she walked upright. Others argued that Homo Erectus like Turkana Boy were the first Humans because not only did they walk upright, they ran, made tools, and cooked using fire.
On Friday, Nathan helped the Orange Banders work on their pinhole cameras. Here, Sakira helps Gita carefully use a box cutter to cut the hole for her tracing paper. We’re approaching these as a metaphor for our eyes. Kiddos needed to finish sealing their boxes with gaffer tape, then install tracing paper (the ‘brain’), then think about how to improve on this basic design. Some painted the inside of their box black, others thought about creating a hood like some of the first photographers used.
Till next week!