Wednesday, November 25, 2020

what we see, what we say...

I got an inquiry this morning about an operation in one of my books in which the reader asked for clarification in making a particular box. What you see in a photo doesn't necessarily convey all that you are required to know. In this case, reading would have helped. We may all be guilty of this. We see a photo and the mind fills in the blanks, in the assumption things are so simple we fully understand, when in fact we may not.

I encounter this all the time teaching. My students see something that looks easy, when in actual fact, there are things about the operation they may not understand without having first made their own mistakes.

For example, in making a Soma Cube Puzzle, one of my students had a puzzle piece break off, but it was because he had glued end grain to side grain, a thing I had explained in the video. When you orient the grain in two pieces side to side moving in the same direction, the glue joint is as strong as the wood itself. That's far from true if you glue pieces cross grained.

We were showing my 4th and 5th grade students the video of how to assemble their chessboard veneer patterns for the third time, and I had clearly stated that it would work out best if they paid attention to grain orientation, making the grain in the various pieces to align in the same direction. The reason I had suggested that was because if I had any errors in cutting pieces to length, those errors would not compound as the various pieces were put into place. Some got that message. Most did not.

We're becoming a see-it, do it world where complexities are not observed, nor are they fully understood.

There was a reason that Diesterweg, Froebel, Cygnaeus, and Salomon planned that learning progress from the concrete to the abstract and from the simple to the complex, and that was to build up within the student a knowledge base that would form a foundation for all other learning. Without that experiential base upon which to build our understanding, there's no common sense, whether we're talking about the political realm or how to address the Covid-19 pandemic.

So here we are. Scott Atlas said that seniors should not be prevented from celebrating "their last thanksgiving" with loved ones. Loved ones rush home, not dreaming that at their last stop for gas they picked up the virus that will kill Granny. 

In the meantime, our own lovely county is a hot spot, and I'm hoping all will exercise extreme caution. In Fayetteville, not more than 50 miles from here they've set up refrigerator trucks to handle the overflow of bodies. I hoped it would never come to this, but with the lack of caution, we have only our own communities to blame. The vaccine is on the horizon, developed by dedicated scientists. We will prevail over the disease, only if we've kept each other safe. 

How much more thankful we will be next year when, with those we love still with us, we celebrate Thanksgiving 2021 together.

Be safe. Make, fix and create...

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