Thursday, Elwood and I were alone for the day. We had math 'scheduled' for late morning. I had a vague notion about using coins to explore probability; flipping, heads or tails, tabulating results and so on. Well, Elwood was more interested in spinning the coins than flipping and came up with a hypothesis that the quarter would spin longest, then the nickel, penny and finally the dime. He based his theory on diameter size.
He has an electronic gadget (he has told me the name of it too many times to count, but it obviously isn't interesting to me, so I have not remembered it). It is an android that he uses for gaming and surfing the Internet. Of course it is multi-functional and has the ability to become a stop watch. He was in charge of spinning the coins and I was in charge of timing. He spun the coins largest to smallest, three times each and I wrote down the time they each stopped spinning. As we were in the process, he revised his hypothesis to say the dime would go longer than the penny.
Once we gathered the data, we averaged the time for each coin and discovered that our results proved Elwood's revised theory.
My role as teacher in this scenario consisted of hitting the start and stop button on the electronic gizmo and to review the process of finding averages. He didn't 'need' me to supply the lesson or for anything else but a bit of memory jogging.
Later in the day, he wanted to do science experiments, so he looked some up on that same electronic thingy. Every once in a while he asked if we had particular 'ingredients' for the experiments. I answered with an explanation of where he could find it on the shelves. He implemented each experiment by following directions. He asked me to watch the 'lava lamp' he created in a jar and wondered if I knew how it worked. We each guessed and then looked up the scientific explanation to see if we were right. When he finished, he cleaned up the spilled veggie oil and put away all of the supplies.
Then we looked (lets be honest everyone looks at the pictures and very few of us actually read the articles) at an article in a National Geographic magazine about a guy who chased tornadoes for a living. He, his son and a meteorologist were killed last May while documenting a monster storm in Oklahoma. We discussed the craziness of being a storm chaser, (well, I thought it was crazy and he thought it may be kind of cool) and examined the diagram showing the paths of their vehicle, the tornado and where they met. The photo of the car showed a twisted heap of metal with three of the tires gone. The paint was even scrubbed off in areas.
The day continued in this fashion. I mentioned that art was on the schedule and asked if he wanted to continue on the mural that has been sadly neglected for the last couple weeks, or try his hand at a collage. He decided to draw a dragon, cut out little pieces of paper from another National Geographic magazines (it always breaks my heart a bit to see these magazines cut up, but the results are always so worth it), and glue the small pieces to the dragon and background.
He and Miguel finished the afternoon with another electric guitar lesson. He is learning to play “Iron Man”. I think it is the song that everyone learns to play at first.
We were equals throughout the day, working together on projects and talking about things we found interesting. At no time was I in charge or pontificating about any particular subject (well except for the few minutes after we watched Jane Goodall's Wild Chimpanzees. But hey, that was ANTHRO and I always get a little carried away!). I chose this day to document because it is the freshest in my memory. Everyday is completely unique at Deep Root Center, but the result is the same. I am a participant, not the dictator. I guide and assist, but I am also learning right along with everyone else here.
We have gained another member! Nate's sister Bryanna will be joining our crew regularly. She is very interested in photography and cosmetology. She spent time working on a very cool collage of different personal care products and make-up cut out from magazines. If you view it from a distance, it almost looks like a cityscape. Welcome Bree!