I had trouble coming up with a good title for this reflection, but I left it with “The difference between teaching and learning.” The essense of my post today is about how important it is for me to allow my students to DO chemistry in my classroom. This lesson was driven home to me today while on a mountain bike ride with my son.
My son is 11 years old and recently got a mountain bike. He’d never ridden on trails before until a few weeks ago when he started joining me for some rides. I tried to give him some pointers about riding over obstacles. For example, it’s best when hitting a curb to approach straight on, to avoid the back tire sliding out and causing a crash. I even stopped by the sidewalk and showed him what would happen. My thought was that I had “taught” him about this issue.
Until today’s ride. We came across a small paved section and he had to navigate a curb to get back to the trail. He hit it at a bit of an angle. Boom! Down on the sidewalk he went. He even had the elbow and knee scapes as evidence. After my first question, “Are you alright?” received a good answer and he stood up to dust himself off, I asked him, “So, what did you learn from this?” Of course he then was able to show me what happened with his angle of approach and how his back tire slipped out.
The lesson for me as it relates to my classroom was clear. I need to create more opportunities for my students to EXPERIENCE chemistry.
Now the fun begins.