We are All Scientists

What is this?

My friend Gus exclaimed this question once.  We were excitedly discussing curiosity and the “purpose” of life.  He concluded it simply: to answer that question.  From the moment a human has consciousness, he is attempting to answer that question.  Watch a baby.  A toddler is better.  The curiosity is so easy to spot!

Sadly, many people lose their curiosity.  We can change that.  I have a simple solution and it is simply to ask a question over and over…

What happens if…?

This question guides our life without our knowing.  In social situations, we constantly test our ideas by talking.  In other words, we are asking, “What happens if I say this?”  If others respond nicely, then we will continue to talk about whatever it was we were talking about.  This explains why kittens are all over the internet.  Everyone loves kittens.  However, this also explains why we avoid topics such as politics and religion because those can steer us into a heated debate.

We also use this question in personal situations, such as how much our body can withstand.  Running the Bix 7 is an example.  Many people see if they can beat their old time.  So, they are asking, “What happens to my Bix 7 time if I train a little harder?”  I set little challenges quite often, such as biking 45 miles to my Dad’s house — the farthest I’ve biked before was around 15 miles.

By asking the question repeatedly, we can get our curiosity back.  And being curious is the first step to being a scientist.  Great.  You are a scientist.  So, what do you create as a scientist?

Models – The Products of Science

Above is the model of the solar system (credit: Nassam Haramein).  Scientists have continuously modified the model to better fit the collected data.  We’ve gone from Earth-centered to Sun-centered, to Sun-moving models of the solar system in order for it to better reflect reality.  Note the fact that it changed in order to better reflect reality.

We all have our own models of how the universe works.  We begin developing our model at an early age.  For example, we might conclude that rocks sink in water.  Or, the closer we get to a heat source, the warmer we are.  Also, we may learn to beware of strangers.  But, do our models reflect reality?

Do rocks always sink?  I was surprised to find a rock, which I believe is limestone, floating when I placed it in water.  Not until the gaps filled with water did it sink.

Is the temperature higher every time we are closer to a heat source?  Our winters occur when we are closest to the Sun — I live in the Northern Hemisphere.

Should we beware of strangers?  I’m not sure on this one.  I know I don’t pursue random conversations in part because of this piece of my model.  Though, when I do talk to random people I have always come away alive and well.

We should spend time evaluating our models of reality.  Like the model of the solar system has changed, our models will likely require changes to best reflect reality.  The one good thing about being a scientists is that it is okay to be wrong as long as you correct your model!

Read Often

The Amazing Technology

How has being able to read helped your life?  We communicate daily with text messages.  Thank-you cards are written and, hopefully, received.  The Harry Potter fantasy world was gloriously entered time-after-time.  Plus, the significant other is impressed with all the new foods cooked thanks to the countless recipes on Pinterest.  Oh.  Sorry.  That was my life, not yours.

Well, how has reading benefited the greater civilization?  Violence has been reduced.  This is caused by better understanding of desires between people because reading and writing forced our languages to become standardized.  Also, political laws are easier to uphold when written and agreed upon.  Reading has also advanced technologies.  This was done by spreading knowledge across not just living people, but generations of people.  Our entertainment has benefited because novels, plays, movies, and shows are almost all written down.  Lastly, reading has been shown to benefit the well-being of people.

So, Reading Helped.  Why Should I Do It?

We love being creative.  Reading is a very creative past time.  For one, our minds create the setting and the characters — obviously the author helps a bit too.  Second, we modify or build our ideas about how the universe works by using ideas from the book.

We love feeling important and reading books can cause this feeling.  Finishing a book is satisfying.  I can’t describe the feeling wholly.  Moreover, a book does not progress unless we are engaging it.  This is the opposite of a movie which can be turned on and will play regardless if we are there to watch it or not.  Also, I’ve never experienced the Yes! feeling after finishing a movie.  Lastly, we become more important when we read to others.  This is something Abbie and I do on occasion — on car trips or before bed.

Reading Suggestions

Below is a list of books I encourage you to read.  If a link is present, then my personal reflection on the book will open.

Reflecting on the School Year

1.  What are some things you accomplished this year that you are proud of?

  • Science fair
  • 8th grade projects
  • Overall better rapport with students
  • 6th grade flood projects
  • Began thinking of ways for my students to impact the community

2.  What is something you tried in your classroom this year for the first time? How did it go?

Large scale 8th grade project –

Overall, it went quite well.  The students were able to research something which they were passionate about.  Learning happens willingly when personal interest is involved.  The organization of the project was poor.  I set a goal to make it happen without planning how it would happen.  But, we got it done!

3.  What is something you found particularly frustrating this year?

My “it could always be better” attitude.  I struggled at staying happy throughout the year.

4.  Which student in your class do you think showed the most improvement? Why do you think this student did so well?

V. L. had motivation issues at the beginning of the year and had to be forced to come in by her parents.  By the end of the year, she was willing to attempt the assignments, but she still struggled.  I think the support she received both at home and from me helped.

5.  What is something you would change about this year if you could?

My classroom management is not consistent.  I want to have boundaries set and spend more time with the students which disrupt the learning.

6.  What is one way that you grew professionally this year?

I focus more on organization and planning.  Huge differences stemmed from it, including lower stress!

7.  Who among your colleagues was the most helpful to you?

K. D-J.  She would always lend her ear to me and make suggestions.  She even met with me over winter break to discuss teaching.

8.  What has caused you the most stress this year?

The feeling that the students didn’t appreciate my lessons.  I must remember that as students, school is not normally their highest priority.

9.  When was a time this year when you felt joyful and/or inspired about the work that you do?

Many students would trust me to know the problems which are occurring to them.  Having that type of bond caused me to believe I was making a positive impact on these students.

10.  What do you hope your students remember most about you as a teacher?

I hope they remember my attempts at acting compassionately and the struggles at living that way.

11.  In what ways were you helpful to your colleagues this year?

I was the recorder on our data team.  I also participated in staff development and shared my lessons with the other 8th grade science teacher.  I also greeted most everyone with a smile, which is always a plus!

12.  What was the most valuable thing you learned this year?

Start with “Why.”  Why should the students learn this?  What impact will it make?  Without a reason, there will be lack of effort.

13.  What was the biggest mistake you made this year? How can you avoid making the same mistake in the future?

Letting up on my classroom management.  I must set a system up.  A good place to start would be brainstorming ways the students disrupted the learning in my classroom this year.

14.  What is something you did this year that went better than you thought it would?

The 8th grade poster project in the library went much better than expected.

15.  What part of the school day is your favorite? Why?

My 6th period class was my favorite class.  The students were kind, fun, and willing to work.  We had fun together.

16.  What were your biggest organizational challenges this year?

The 8th grade project.  I must begin putting things on a calendar to help plan out large projects.

17.  Who was your most challenging student? Why?

J. G. constantly pushed my buttons.  She would show up late from lunch, talk back, and copy other students’ work.  I think a lack of support all around has caused her to act very selfishly.

18.  In what ways did you change the lives of your students this year?

I was told my class had great hands-on activities.  Hooray!  Students were generally excited to be in my class and I was able to model how to be yourself.

19.  Pretend that you get to set your own salary for this past year based on the job that you did. How much do you feel that you earned (the number you come up with should be in no way based on your current salary – rather, come up with a number that truly reflects how you should be compensated for your work this year)?

45,000

20.  Knowing what you know now, would you still choose to be a teacher if you could go back in time and make the choice again? If the answer is “no,” is there a way for you to choose a different path now?

I think I am starting to like teaching more and more.  There are more positive memories than negative now.  I thnk I would like to stay a teacher.

 

Break a Habit by Learning a New Skill

How can we simplify our life?  Well, one way is to use apps on our phones.  They are extremely helpful.  I use Pinterest and MapMyRun.  Pinterest is used mainly for sorting recipes, while MapMyRun helps keep me motivated to exercise.  Plus, it tells me my current pace while running.

A way I hope to simplify my life is to reduce the amount of alcohol I drink.  I’ve noticed I drink it while procrastinating, which is not a healthy habit.  So, how can I break it?  I have decided to use an app.  Moreover, I’ve also decided to create the app.  Here’s the idea behind the app: I will set a limit of how many drinks per month I will allow myself to drink and it will help me count.  Very simple, but I think effective if used.  Plus, I want to learn how to create apps because they are incredibly helpful and I have another idea for a possible mindmap style website.  And to help create that, I think I must understand a bit about coding.

Value Mind Map – Learning – April 20th – 26th

Learning is great!  Abbie chose for us to focus on our value of Learning this week.  Below is the mind map I created to help me keep track.Learning mind map

Looks like I need a better camera!  That picture is hard to read.  But here are the key ideas I took away each day this past week.

The endless library thought experiment caused me to realize the difficulty in unlimited choices.  Our lives are sometimes too open and we become stagnant instead of taking action.  Creating a sense of limited resources will improve our productivity.

I was meditating and realized that doing is required.  Specifically, I was thinking about how fast paced society is and how we rarely take time to appreciate it.  I had an urge to get up and go tell people to slow down.  However, this would cause me to become fast paced and not act how I believe we should live, which in this case was slowing down and appreciating what I did have.

We should all take a vow to do the important tasks first thing in the morning.  If we put them off, then they suddenly become something to do later.

We must play within our values.  I sprayed some water in my students’ face when they wouldn’t be quiet today.  I did it with a smile on my face.  Guess what happened?  Students began doing it to one another.  I wouldn’t like that either.  My “play” was disrespectful.  We must keep our values in mind for all our actions.

I often become lethargic when thinking about work.  I want to do anything but it.  I realized I am missing having a purpose in my educating students.  Sounds awful, doesn’t it?  In anything we do, I think it is best we have some sort of purpose to fuel us.

Oddly, I often find myself ruminating over my work.  This is draining.  I realized I need downtime to help keep myself energized for my important, yet challenging, tasks.

Lastly, I learned about physical computer manipulations.  I watched a TED talk about a using physical objects to work with computers.  For example, he showed how we could have 3 different objects representing Fire, Ambulance, and Police units and physically place them on a map.  Also, there is a way to learn about protein structures by having the objects respond when moved (i.e. feeling the way proteins are folded).

Overall, it was a great week.  And I am glad I had this moment to reflect upon my learning again.