Friday, May 30, 2014

THE LOVE OF LEARNING ...

"The love of learning, the sequestered nooks, and all the sweet serenity of books."     
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow



School is out, its such a bitter/sweet time. I look forward to summer and all that it offers but I will miss the kids, the magic of teaching and the moments when the "joy of learning" happens for me.


As my own children progressed through school I was voracious about what they were learning. My youngest took AP English and I followed along, reading everything he talked about. I cried as I finished John Steinbeck's The Red Pony. It was a wrenching moment when Billy Buck makes the ultimate sacrifice to keep his promise to Jody. 

Hemingway's "Hills Like White Elephants" left me in awe at his skill as a writer. How could he say so much without saying what he was talking about?

This was my first year teaching 6th grade math.  I knew I was in for a "ride"  I finally understood where Pi came from and how to use it.


I was good with geometric solids and finding the area of parallelograms and triangles but then I had to teach them how to multiply positive and negative numbers.  That's simple until you get to ....  negative x negative = positive

I remember learning this. I did the process but I never understood the "why"  I asked everyone of my fellow teachers. They just repeated to me a negative x negative = positive.  I know that but why???  "Just do it"  they said.


I went to my son who gave me the very lengthy mathematical explanation which I completely did not understand.


Then... I "googled" it and this is what I found...






If I said to you "Don't eat that"  that's a negative.
If I said to you, "Don't, don't eat that" it is a double negative that means  EAT IT!  (a positive) In that context I got it and going down that "rabbit hole" was fun.


After lots of coaxing, all the lost and overdue library books have been  accounted for except one, a little picture book titled, Galileo's Treasure Box

As I looked at the title I thought ... I know who Galileo is. Then the little voice in my head said... 
"Yeah, so what do you know about him?" Once again I googled it. Oh my word... so interesting.



Galileo was the father of modern astronomy and modern physics. He did not invent the telescope but he improved it and was the first to use it to study the stars. He showed us that there was much more going on in the heavens than anyone suspected. 

He observed the four largest moons circling Jupiter that are now referred to as "Galilean moons" and showed us that our earth is NOT the center of the universe.



He made contributions to the law of inertia, developed the first pendulum clock (quite a feat since previously there was no accurate way to keep time) and directly influenced Newton's work on gravity by showing that any two objects of varying weight, if dropped from the same height will hit the ground at the same time. This was very radical thinking in his day and in direct opposition to the teachings of Aristotle.

Is there a point to all this?  YES!  Learning is fun and being a lifelong learner makes the future exciting and mysterious.


There is so much out there... I never want to be too old to learn something new!


Enjoy this 3 minute mini biography about Galileo...