Monday, July 18, 2011

Learning moments

A couple of learning moments from the past few days that I wanted to mention...

1. On Friday, as we were getting ready to go shopping with my mother-in-law and sister-in law, Max asked me, "Mama, how do you know where things are?" At first I wasn't sure what he was asking me, but then I understood that he wanted to know how I knew the way to the store. I told him that I have a map in my head, so I know which streets to take to get me where I want to go. I asked him if he'd like a map of our route and he said yes, so I quickly printed driving directions from Google Maps, and drew in a few landmarks (our house, Daddy's work, cousin Christy's house) so he could have a little more perspective of what he was looking at. He held the map and referred to it as we went, and whenever I stopped at a stop sign, I quickly reached back and pointed out where we were. Just a simple little thing to help him see the big world a little differently.

2. Today, we were at my mom's for dinner (YUMMY!) and while we were sitting out on the patio Max brought out a huge cupful of ice. He had apparently been playing with investigating the ice dispenser on the refrigerator. He asked me if the sun would melt the ice, and I got an idea to do a quick, simple experiment with him. I took two handfuls of ice of about equal size from his cup, and put one pile on the ground in the shade and one in the sun. I asked him which pile he thought would melt faster. He guessed the pile in the sun. He sat there on the patio and watched that ice melt with great focus. At one point my parents were trying to call him to the table and he replied "I am watching the ice melt!" in a tone that indicated that he was not going to budge until it was gone. And he was correct - the pile in the sun did melt a bit more quickly than the pile in the shade. I then showed him how the line between the sun and shade, which was formed by the shadow of a fence, had moved since I put the ice on the ground. The edge of the shadow had been centered between the two piles, but by the time the ice had melted the shadow had almost reached the "sun" pile. I asked him why the shadow moved. He said, "I don't know," and I decided not to give him an answer right away, and let him think about it. A short while later he noticed that the sun was going down, and then we had a conversation about how the movement of the sun caused the shadows to move too.

Life is a better classroom than any classroom.

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