My Daily Reminder: Get Out of Their Way

I may need to post this in a place where I can see it daily: Get out of your students’ way.

Neil Degrasse Tyson summed this up very well:

Children are born scientists They're curious about everything around them.  Imagine what kind of kids we'd have if we had scientifically literate adults.

Children are born scientists They’re curious about everything around them. Imagine what kind of kids we’d have if we had scientifically literate adults.

Today, my volunteer shift at Math on a Stick was a bold reminder of that.  Sarah Stengle , the visiting mathematical artist, brought Kaleidocycles.   She cleverly created cardstock that was pre-scored with the template for easier folding by little hands.
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The problem:  this project had a specific directions for a specified outcome.  We could fold in a different order and decorate differently but ultimately, the process for each kid needed to be very much the same so that they each ended up with a working kaleidocycle.

Because this craft was three-dimensional, we recommended that they decorate the paper before folding.[Side note:  observing the differing levels of precision the children used while coloring was interesting].

Sometimes pink paper just isn't enough pink.

Sometimes pink paper just isn’t enough pink.

When children know that the outcome is going to be really cool, they are very willing to let the adult do the work for them.  To be fair, this was a tough project for the littler ones to do independently.

And then in walks an adorable blonde girl about five years old.  She might as well have been Maria.

Child: I’m going to make one.

Me: Awesome, let’s grab some markers so we can decorate it.

Child: I want to decorate it AFTER I fold it.

Me: Well, because it’s…nevermind, you can do that.

Child:  I’m going to draw pictures of my family on the triangles.

When we finished, she had come up with the most beautiful piece of math paper art I had ever seen in my life.  The reason: She fought my insisting that the paper needed to be colored pre-folding.

Here are all of the members of her family, including the dog.  Plus a heart in the middle.

Here are all of the members of her family, including the dog. Plus a heart in the middle.

When she played around with the kaleidocycle, she could hide and unhide her family.  And then the heart in the middle…exploded.  And so did my brain.  This was so…incredibly…awesome.  Take a second and watch her awesomeness.

1 Comment

  1. Pingback: Math on a Stick – Encore Edition | Number Loving Beagle

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