Stem Class on Sound: Teacher Priorities
Stem class at co op. We started a new unit on ‘Sound’. The class was awesome and I absolutely loved the way they were participating today. These kids have come a long way. No one seems afraid of giving wrong answers, they just speak their mind now and is just awesome. I asked them ‘what is sound?’ And they gave fragmented one word answers. ‘It’s a wave’, some one said ‘energy’, someone else said ‘it’s vibrations’, then someone said ‘it’s traveling’ I made each of the answers look ridiculous by asking counter questions and giving it a twist When they said ‘traveling’ I said ‘you mean, when I am talking to you the sound is traveling on a train’ and then I chugged like a train to the other end of the room pretending to be a train.
The laughs and the look on their faces. How they reasoned with themselves and kept improving & refining their answers & tried to make their response coherent at each attempt. It was so rewarding to watch. Questions, answers and more questions and then they were finally thinking in the right direction. It’s amazing to watch them as they are asking questions to themselves and bringing forth their answers rather than listening to my monologue. It satisfies me that I am leaving these kids curious and interested in the subject.
I am not a good teacher, I have poor classroom management skills, I am bad at time keeping and enforcing rules or even teaching for that matter but that does not bother me much.. My biggest goal is to leave them inspired to learn more, to make them feel that everything can be understood and they are just a few steps away. We live in an age where information acquisition is no longer the primary goal of education, anyone with a smart phone can get any information they need.
My goal with my kids and co op kids is to get them interested in chasing, in acquiring, learning and applying the knowledge they seek. They are the owners & masters of their education. I need to ignite the fire and get out of the way. I know that the fruits of such kind of teaching may not be realized right way. Maybe not anywhere in the near future but I will continue to make this a priority. Because I still remember the teachers who inspired me,not the ones who merely instructed me.
On a side note, the metal slinky in a cup makes these alien laser gun sounds which kept the kids engaged and puzzled. The cup acts like an amplifier.