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The LJHS 8th Grade Worldview Project

September 27, 2010 Leave a comment

Students are working on a worldview project this week in Social Studies that will culminate in a poster or 3-D object that illustrates and explains the 8th grade LJHS worldview. Time has also been allotted in class for purposes of planning and coordinating among group members.

The project is due Monday, October 4th and is worth 100 points.

Lecture Slides – Revolutions in Worldviews

September 20, 2010 Leave a comment

LECTURE SLIDES:

Revolutions in Worldviews

Newton

September 20, 2010 Leave a comment

Given as homework last week in case anyone who has not turned this in lost their copy:

Children as Autotelic Learners

September 20, 2010 Leave a comment

Education scientist Sugata Mitra tackles one of the greatest problems of education — the best teachers and schools don’t exist where they’re needed most.

Teaching and Cultivating “High Conceptual Thinkers”

September 20, 2010 Leave a comment

The Eide Neurolearning Blog run by Drs. Brock and Fernette Eide, has long been one of my favorite blogs – here’s an example of why:

Gifted Big Picture / High Conceptual Thinkers

High Conceptual Thinkers are often…

– Omnivorous Learners: The world may be their oyster. Because of their quest for the “interesting”, they may love the Internet, read entire encyclopedias, or incessantly question adults about the real world, and so learn a little bit about everything. They may not hit ceiling scores on the conceptual knowledge IQ subtests because their omnivorous approach to figuring out the world around them.

– New is the Thing: HCTs prefer novelty (this is how they develop new conceptual categories) and are tickled by unconventional viewpoints or discoveries.

– Big Picture, Not Little Details: HCTs don’t always transition well to the “precision years” of late elementary, middle school, or beyond.

– Boredom is Death: Although using the ‘b’ word is notoriously a “no-no” word when talking to teachers, these kids rebel against what they see as boredom. Boredom may really seem like death to young HCTs.

If young HCTs seem “driven by a motor”, it’s intellectual restlessness and it can be a blessing as well as a burden.Not surprisingly, these kids often find classroom learning unsatisfying. After all, much of early education is focused on mastering basic skills or established facts, this is not what these kids are about. They’d rather be finding new worlds to conquer.

Although these kids are challenging to teach and parent, they are also a delight, and Dan Pink and others have suggested that the Conceptual Age is upon us and this pattern of thinking should be what we should be encouraging.

“High conceptual thinkers” – those with an insatiable intellectual curiosity, who see meta-level patterns and excel at constructing paradigms, extrapolation, synthesis and consilience are probably not a large percentage of the population and, most likely, they include eccentrics and cranks as well as highly accomplished individuals like E.O. Wilson, Buckminster Fuller, Freeman Dyson, Nikola Tesla, Richard Feynman and probably figures like Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, Sir Richard Francis Burton, Winston Churchill, Robert Hooke, Da Vinci and numerous others.There seems to be some congruency between HCTs and the category of people known as polymaths, which raises the question of whether HCT are born or can be encouraged to develop such a cognitive profile from education and life experience.

The Eides offered a list of techniques for teaching children recognized as HCTs, but to my mind, these would also benefit a fairly broad section of students:

Teaching Big Picture / High Conceptual Thinkers

– Sky’s the Limit: If an idea or a lesson would be interesting to a wonky tech-y post-college 20-something, then it’s fine for the HCT. If a story or thing could be written about in Wired, Fast Company, or Mental Floss, then you’re probably on the right track. Sky should be the limit. Even some generally excellent gifted programs we’ve seen may grossly underestimate an HCT’s ability to think about advanced concepts. Also because HCTs develop their ideas through pattern recognition, they may want to see many examples and permutations, and complex presentations in order to help organize their ideas into simpler concepts.

– Play with Ideas: Conceptual thinkers like and need to play with ideas. Play expands ideas, creating a new opening for associations. Play means not micromanaging learning experiences – allowing some dabbling, and taking away some of the “high stakes every time” routine (e.g. not everything should be graded).

– Argue with Ideas We think many educational curricula wait way to long before they allow young HCTs to consider different viewpoints, learn how to frame arguments or actually debate, but this is often what HCTs love. If they don’t get it at school, make sure they get it home…maybe at the dinner table? Half of the 400 eminent men and women profiled in the Goertzels’ Cradles of Eminence came from “opinionated” families: “It is these homes that produce most of the scientists, humanitarians, and reformers.”

Compare these recommendations with the advice offered by nanotechnologist Dr. Eric Drexler of Metamodern:

Studying to learn about everything

To intellectually ambitious students I recommend investing a lot of time in a mode of study that may feel wrong. An implicit lesson of classroom education is that successful study leads to good test scores, but this pattern of study is radically different. It cultivates understanding of a kind that won’t help pass tests – the classroom kind, that is.

  1. Read and skim journals and textbooks that (at the moment) you only half understand. Include Science and Nature.
  2. Don’t halt, dig a hole, and study a particular subject as if you had to pass a test on it.
  3. Don’t avoid a subject because it seems beyond you – instead, read other half-understandable journals and textbooks to absorb more vocabulary, perspective, and context, then circle back.
  4. Notice that concepts make more sense when you revisit a topic.
  5. Notice which topics link in all directions, and provide keys to many others. Consider taking a class.
  6. Continue until almost everything you encounter in Science and Nature makes sense as a contribution to a field you know something about.

Intellectual curiosity would seem to be the axis that would make these approaches work effectively, and possibly, that’s what these techniques stimulate.

Perception vs. Reality

September 7, 2010 Leave a comment

The students were introduced to two concepts last week – that Perception and Reality can be very different and that Western Civilization has two basic and opposing Worldviews on the nature of Reality itself (going back to Plato vs. Aristotle). Characters from the sci-fi movie, The Matrix, were used to illustrate the point.

After viewing material and discussion, questions were asked:

And now, simply for fun !:

Perception, Cognition and Worldviews Vocabulary

September 7, 2010 Leave a comment

The introductory unit ” Cognition, Perception and Worldviews” focuses on how people’s understanding of the world around them is affected by their culture, ideas and history; and, in turn, how their actions can create systemic changes that shape worldviews. The following are terms, concepts and individuals used for this unit of study ( If you don’t what some of these are, don’t panic – the whole point of education is to learn new things, not rehearse what you already know):

Concepts:

Perception, Perspective, Position, Philosophy, Values, Orientation, Cognition, Metacognition, Meme, Culture, Society, Rule-set, Worldview, Paradigm, Paradigm-Shift, Evolution, Cultural Evolution, Objective, Subjective, Bias, Social Contract, Empiricism, Scientific Method, Natural Law, Revolution, Humanism, Framing, Feedback, O.O.D.A

Worldviews:

Prehistoric, Ancient, Medieval, Renaissance, Reformation, Enlightenment, Scientific Revolution

Thinkers:

Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Cicero, Francis Bacon, Rene Descartes, Isaac Newton, Montesquieu,

Charles Darwin, Thomas Kuhn, Richard Dawkins, George Lakoff, John Boyd

Categories: student information, units