Class Notes February 21, 2011

    I wanted to tell you what a wonderful job the children are doing on their projects. Thanks to a great idea from one of our students, we were able to string wire through the deck boards of our suspension bridge models, after the difficult, careful job of drilling them. They learned how to spot for plumb from two directions. Using small clamps and staple gun, they installed cross braces. Our vertical support cables are next, and to get ideas for these we took a field trip to the suspension bridges at Flat Rock, Cornell (near the Johnson) and the two connecting Stewart Park with the golf course. It brought our little models to life!
   Under my careful supervision and trust, the students cut a plywood sheet, after computing the area divided by the # of students x 2. They then sanded their two matching squares and fastened them together, after drilling 1/8 holes, with pop rivets and a pop rivet gun. That’s fun. They then laid out a circle and a 24 division of said circle on their board with a compass. At each of the 24 intersections with the circumference they drove a small brad (finish nail). Using these Geometry boards, they began experimenting with string and the thousands of numerical, visual possibilities available in such a configuration of points. We will continue exploring shapes and numbers using these boards that they made themselves.
   We continued our study of the revolutions in the Middle East. We drew a map on the board and surveyed the various nations in foment, and the varied responses of the governments and Autocrats, both positive and negative. We noted the particular uniqueness of the current uprisings, in their being facilitated in large part by social media and a connectivity that was not present in other revolutions through history. We looked at the US role and stance; and the complex dilemma of supporting democracies, but avoiding what happened in Iran in 1979, after overthrowing the Shah. It’s certainly history unfolding. Now we have the crisis in Libya to add to the drama.
   Starting in our homes, and the familiar objects, and the everyday, we proceeded to step outside into something extraordinary, as in outside the ordinary. This led to some wonderful creative writing. Maybe your child will share with you what he/she wrote – We continued to add wrinkles to our Mushpot game. We read some of the great love poems from Shakespeare, Rossetti, Browning, Tennyson, Spencer, T.S.Eliot, e.e. cummings, and we did some new recitations.
   Thanks to all of you for giving me the chance and the openness to be inspired to teach.

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