What was most successful about in this class to me was the ability to narrow down the topic through the exercise. Through asking her questions and writing the answers down I could easily gauge her interests.  I figured out she was more interested in systematic and behavioral change. I think the most difficult parts of the last class were about how vague the question of “how do you feel about water” is.  Maybe we should divide ourselves into subtopic groups so the students can choose what topic most interests them


I’ve mentioned before in class that I lack teaching experience, but I recall a time when my martial arts instructor asked me to teach a junior student a complicated form sequence. I assumed he asked me to teach because I was experienced in this particular form (I’d been practicing it for over two years). But then why wouldn’t my instructor, who is much older and a far better teacher, instruct it himself? Surely he has practiced and taught this form much longer than I have? There were a couple of moments I noticed when my junior was learning this form from me. We were about seven years apart and the age gap only made us more comfortable with each other. That respectable, yet awkward student-teacher relationship was instead a peer-to-peer relationship where my junior can comfortably ask questions that helped him practice better. Another thing I’ve noticed while teaching is that I continuously learned even in the act of teaching: I had to review what I knew so that I wouldn’t miss a single detail, constantly pay attention to how my junior was responding to my advice, and correct him if he made a mistake. It was often the questions that juniors would ask where I learned the most. They would ask how to make specific movements or even how I would practice the movements at home. These questions would make me reflect on my practice and even refine my physical details. In the end, we would both grow as student and teacher, learning is never one-sided.

This was the mindset I wanted to bring to our visit with the kids. As long as they were curious and maintained a peer-to-peer relationship with me, we would be able to work together and make a great project. If we could find out what makes them curious, then those at the Liberty Science Center will be able to feel the same way.

More ideas!!

  • “Climate change isn’t new”–present interactive climate change data of earth vs. when human civilization began. In the form of: motion video projection, interactive touch board, or invisible infographic. Inspiration: the spiral infographic of the omnidome in the Natural History Museum
  • “Games of Thrones is actually about climate change”–compare climate change with story elements for GoT. In the form of illustrations, video clip comparisons. Inspiration: there’s a paper on this, will link later
  • “Your mission is”–collect people’s numbers, send them out into the open space, after a few minutes they receive a message, “You are in grave danger. Tiny microbeads disguised as cameras are hidden in the water.” Then they’ll receive an audio message that gives them instructions that culminate to the end of the story mission and a background to story elements. In form of: experiential audio/text. Inspiration: the app Zombies, Run!
  • “System modeling”—have systems (water, plastic, human) interact with each other (through touch objects or ui system) and project motion graphics of results. Inspiration: Jay Forrester system dynamics, simulations


I wasn’t able to come to class this week, but Mary Claire filled me in to what we talked about (thank you!). If I were to define teaching in my own words, I would define it as something which is both directing and learning. I believe that a correct way of teaching incorporates the knowledge you, as a teacher already have and allow someone else to see, as well as learning from that person and experience. Teaching allows for your knowledge to remain malleable, and constantly renovated. I have a few experiences where I have found this to be especially true. Working in a classroom, I have learned that you must always be listening and aware of how a lesson is going. Not everything goes to plan, ever, and I’ve had to learn to adapt to situations, change my approach and listen to why a certain lesson may not be sticking. To teach about water though, I think I would have the students list as many forms of water they can think of, and then compare class answers. Although many may have things such as ‘rain’ or ‘a shower’ some may have things like a puddle, or boiling water to make tea, or water that is dripping off of a dogs mouth. I think it would be a creative and fun way to expand our knowledge about water, and how important it is in our everyday lives.

Mary Claire

I rarely think about teaching on teaching. It was interesting in class to reflect on what really makes a teacher. I had to think about teachers I had and what made them excellent teachers. Growing up, my mother worked as an elementary school teacher and I felt like I got an earful about her classroom. It did feel like she was often raising the kids she taught and also being their therapist. Taking a basic understanding of that and applying it to a middle school classroom was interesting. Middle Schoolers seem right at the age when they like enthusiasm but they can detect fakeness in a heartbeat. I was blown away by how smart the kids were and how creative they were, even after a long day at school. I thought it was most interesting with Raneisha, who seemed at first like she didn’t want to be there, but when it came down to it, she threw herself into the project at hand.