Slice of Life Tuesday: Expanding (Blowing!) Our Minds

Last week, I talked about creating space for myself as part of my One Little Word challenge for the year.

Funny how that works.

Let me explain.

Yesterday, in my third-grade class, our lesson went completely, totally, 100% around the corner and off the tracks. We were supposed to spend our time reading Greek mythology, learning about the Olympian gods and goddesses. We were supposed to be going through the stories and taking notes on what we’re learning, questions we have and what we want to share.

And then someone started a conversation about Hades.
And then I mentioned Hades’s Roman name was given to the planet Pluto, that cold, dark unknown place.
And then we started talking about the other planet names.
And then we started talking about one culture taking over another.
And then we started talking about astronomy, and planets, and discovery.
And then we started in on how knowledge has built up over thousands and thousands of years, from the ancients right on up.
And then we talked about how our knowledge – ALL of our knowledge – stands on the shoulders of those who came before us.
And then we started in on the idea, often attributed to Aristotle: “the more you know, the more you know you DON’T know.”
And we used the example of sitting, then standing, or standing on the roof, or on a mountain top, as a way to gather more sight, more perspective.
And that led us to Neil DeGrasse Tyson’s “The Most Astounding Fact.
And that led us to Carl Sagan’s “Pale Blue Dot.
And that led us to the revised video of the Eames’s “Powers of Ten.

And friends, their third-grade minds have been stretched, and pulled, and blown.

Space. We discussed LITERAL space, spacetime. And together, we held the space and took the time to allow this conversation to occur.

And I regret none of it.

Some questions left over from today

This post is part of the weekly Slice of Life challenge from Two Writing Teachers. Check them out!

Published by Lainie Levin

Mom of two, full-time teacher, wife, daughter, sister, friend, and holder of a very full plate

24 thoughts on “Slice of Life Tuesday: Expanding (Blowing!) Our Minds

  1. Lainie! I feel like it’s been forever since I’ve connected with you online.
    1. Thank you for the link to OLW. I kept seeing those letters and had no idea what it meant.
    2. What an amazing conversation!
    3. The Powers of 10?! My husband I were just talking about how much we loved that video even though it’s been at least 30 years since either one of us has seen it. I’m going to go click on the link for the revised version now!

    1. You too, Vivian! And…thank you. It took me a while as well to learn about OLW. I saw people posting about it last year and finally figured out what it was about!
      As for the powers of 10 movie, it’s funny. The link came across my blogroll yesterday morning, and it’s funny that I actually had a reason to use it that very day in conversation!

      I’d love to know what you think of the revised edition. On an aside, I didn’t realize that the makers of the original film were ALSO the makers of the iconic chair I’m such a fan of!

  2. And that is what teaching is all about. A question or idea sparks an interest which brings about new ponderings which leads to M more conversation which leads to research which leads to…

    1. which leads to, which leads to, which leads to. Exactly! It’s one of my favorite parts of being a teacher. As much as we structure and plan and scaffold, there’s no replacement for the magic of a conversation that naturally unfolds.

  3. The best “going off the tracks story” I’ve heard i a long time. And let me suggest that they are very likely to retain and reapply what they learned as your lesson “went off the tracks”! Bravo!

    1. Thank you! And yes, you’re right…the knowledge that they’ve stumbled upon through discovery and excitement will stick with them MUCH longer than vocab cards or a quizlet. I could be wrong, but in this case it’s not likely ; )

    1. Right?? I have to admit those guys are my nerd crushes for SURE. The Cosmos (both old and new) is always good for a mind-blowing experience, and they both do such a good job of making astrophysics accessible to all. <>

  4. I LOVE THIS SO MUCH! You are amazing. Your kids are amazing. And this is such a sweet reminder for me – let it flow, Decker. 🤎 Thanks for sharing!!

    1. Aw, thank you! My kids really ARE amazing. In a world that’s on fire, they make it worth getting up every day. They always have. ❤

    1. Right? Kids are so capable of wisdom and insight. I repeatedly have to remind myself to make room for their observations, and I am continually surprised (but not!) by what they share.

  5. Following a student led curiosity conversation is magical. Thank you for letting us in on this beautifully constructed inquiry. Heading over to check out the video links you shared!

    1. Thank you! It was pretty fun to watch it come along. I’ll never get tired of seeing that lightbulb blink on!

  6. And that my dear is not just makes you an educator, but a TEACHER. You let the lessons of the incredible knowledge organically being learned override following the original lesson planned. The questions left behind show how impactful the mind blown moment.
    At least one of them will remember this and talk about it long into their adulthood.

    1. Thank you. Your words mean the world. I feel like the power of the knowledge itself (infinite universe, infinite knowledge) also provides that momentum for being impactful. I will always believe that kids thrive on big ideas, and their discussion proves it.

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