Monday, April 15, 2013

Making Machines Out of Paper and Sticks

This is what teaching looks like to me.  Coincidentally, this what learning looks like to me. You don't always see it in the same picture.  photo: Yadana Desmond where: New York Hall of Science

Reminder: National Teachers' Appreciation Week is coming soon.  May 6-12, 2013

Don't you love this photo?  Press LIKE if you want to salute your favorite teachers!  Read on to find out what you can't see in the photo:

I love Iridescent Learning.  I have worked in non-profits all of my life and believe me when I say I meet so few who have this amount of inspiration in their core.   Before I registered my family into their program, I had no idea that afterschool science education could be so meaningful and affordable.

Iridescent Learning is a group that I came to know while surfing the web one evening.  I found out they have free classes and were looking for kids in a certain zip code to participate.  I wasn't in that zip code but heck I lived pretty closeby anyway.  I emailed them and that same evening, I had my question answered.

Yes, my son can attend.  It was 1 AM.  There was no way I could go to sleep that night.  It's a program called Be A Scientist which is funded by the National Science Foundation, an organization whose name I only heard of frequently when I was working in one the top med schools in the country.  My son is a participant of this annual program that runs once a week for four weeks but get this... the children participate for FIVE YEARS.  His classes take place at the New York Hall of Science every year and on class days, all of the students' families are provided free admission to the museum.  Aren't these families so darn lucky?

Trying to make a machine based on a lesson in biomimicry.  photo: Yadana Desmond where: New York Hall of Science

So it's not just offering great science education to kids in low income neighborhoods.  No, it's that PLUS the powers that be get to figure out exactly what happens when you do such great things for kids? I am encouraged and inspired!

So what's happening now?  We're at midpoint in Year 3 and my son is definitely not forgetting that he is a science lover.  He identifies himself as a scientist and is so proud of that.  Despite any mistakes he may have made in class, he always walks away having explored and discovered new things about science and about himself.

Don't forget your Class A teachers on National Teachers Appreciation Week May 6- 12, 2013

Photo above: What you don't see in the picture is that my son made his second prototype because the first one he did was all wrong.   But whatever he made, still won praise from Paige Teamey, Director of Engineers at Teachers at Iridescent Learning.  Paige even asked him, "Where's your first prototype? It wasn't the assignment but it was really interesting."

"I took it apart." he said.  And did mom take a picture of it?  Me? Uh, no... I didn't... rats!  That would be something that only smart teachers like Paige would do....... sigh.... must. try. harder.

Even if you don't live near an Iridescent Learning site, you can still experience the magic at home!  Try out their book!  Use my link to support Toys are Tools.

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Disclosure:  Toys are Tools was not compensated by the manufacturer  of any of the products mentioned for the publication of this article. 

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