Tuesday, September 30, 2014

hands on science...

Yesterday I watched for a few minutes as our science teacher worked with the younger group of our elementary school students. We've started the year with the whole school engaged in the study of ornithology, so in wood shop students have whittled bird wings, and last week we made bird feeders with the 4th grade students.

Our school is on a 4 year rotation, studying earth, air, fire and water, as organizational themes, one year at a time, and this is the year of air. The Greek ellements lead you to an understanding of the complexity of life. Is a tree of the earth or of the air or of water? If you put it in the fire does it burn? And yet, the Greek materials scheme lends itself to the notion that each year at school needs not be routine, but can be fresh and alive with new things and as the teachers engage in collaboration. around a central theme.

Our students' own museum of eggs and nests.
The young ones as shown in the photo were studying bird eggs and painting their own to match those of the wild birds in our area. So each had a small clutch of eggs they had shaped from modeling clay, and were painting them to correspond with those of the bird of their choice. The point of course is not that at some point in later life they will become professional bird egg makers as silly as that might seem, but that they become entangled as observers of the natural world, and begin using their minds in the classification of things.

I cannot imagine a parent in the whole world who would not want this kind of schooling for their kids. It is not just my own program that makes Clear Spring School so special. The hands touch all, and we keep getting better at it.

Make, fix and create...

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