Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Don't tell me the answer!

I was asked this week to answer the following question. "What is the best way to generate curiosity and engagement in a learner?" 

We have learned teaching at Sabot to listen, ask questions, scaffold but offer few if any answers. 

We have watched as students hypothesize and trust the process of inquiry.  They perceive their ideas and understandings as valuable and are empowered to solve problems. The inquiry process makes them take ownership for their learning. 

Anna documented a conversation in the studio that began with a question. 

What color are the leaves growing on a real tree? 

The question initiated more questions. 

How do the leaves on a tree turn colors?

I. and E. begin the development of a hypothesis. The children always begin with what they know, use their imagination to support the pieces that seem unfathomable and collaborate their knowledge and information to construct an answer. 

This answer evolves as more children become involved in the discussion. 

Fairies and dragons live in flying houses. Black liquid comes from the sink and is poured on the roots of the tree.

The black liquid is sucked up from the roots. It goes up into  machines in the leaves. The machines are super flat even flatter than the leaves and the liquid goes to all the other leaves. This is how it changes colors. The machines can't be seen. They are really small. 

Notice the machines are at the bottom of the sketch on the leaves. The black liquid is being sucked up through the roots.

As we begin to understand the intricacies of the theory, we realize that conceptually it is a good start

  • A liquid comes from outside of the tree.
  • The liquid is sucked up by the roots. 
  • The liquid experiences a change transforming the colors of the leaves.
We strive to answer the questions but we value the process and the collaboration between the children who feel empowered to peel back the layers of the world and its mysteries.

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