Wednesday, October 09, 2013

manual exercises

Yesterday I began making some of the last cuts for my new book, making lids and bases for final boxes. I did these using a 2 inch spacer block, and the X +/- 2 design formula to make a lid that was 6 3/4 in. x 8 3/4 in. and to overhang the body of the box by 3/8 in. on each side.

The following is from Calvin Woodward, considered a co-father of industrial education in the US:
"Manual exercises, which are at the same time intellectual exercises, are highly attractive to healthy boys. If you doubt this, go into the shops of a manual trainings school and see for yourself. Go, for instance, into our forging-shop, where metals are wrought through the agency of heat. A score of young Vulcans, bare-armed, leather-aproned, with many a drop of honest sweat, stand up to their anvils with an unconscious earnestness which shows how much they enjoy their work. What are they doing? They are using brains and hands. They are studying definitions in the only dictionary which really defines."
One of the things that is missed by those introducing "new" concepts like STEM education, is the value of what has gone on before. Many of the underlying concerns in "new" methods were expressed previously with an eloquence that can be hard to parrot in a completely new and unpracticed voice. The following is also from Calvin Woodward:
"Says Supt. Seaver of Boston; 'Manual training is essential to the right and full development o f the human mind, and therefore no less beneficial to those hwo are not going to become artisans than to those who are. The workshop method of instruction is of great educational value, for it brings the learner face to face with the fats of nature; his mind increases in knowledge by direct personal experience with forms of mater, and manifestations of force. No mere words intervene. The manual exercises of the shop train mental power, rather than load the memory; they fill the mind with the solid merchandise of knowledge, and not with its empty packing cases."
Let's put kids to work with simple tools making beautiful and useful things.

Today I have my lower elementary school and middle school students in the Clear Spring School wood shop.

Make, fix and create...

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