Monday, January 18, 2010

the power of models

A photo by Henry Leutwyler in Time Magazine this week shows the relationship between the hands and the understanding of abstract concepts. Aids researcher David Ho is shown with a clay model of the antibody that he believes may prevent HIV infection. Craftsmen and scientists routinely use hand held models to understand things that the mind alone could not grasp.

Would this model in his hands have greater use than one created and manipulated on a computer screen? What do you think? I will let you inform me. But there is a clear relationship between grasping concepts and ideas and what we do with our hands. Still the hands only at the risk of stifling intellect, and it is what we often do in American education.

"If the condition of man is to be progressively ameliorated, as we fondly hope and believe, education is to be the chief instrument in effecting it." - Thomas Jefferson

What value do you suspect Thomas Jefferson would have placed on the education of our children's hands?

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