My two little girls were excited this morning to go to daycare. Fridays are show-and-share days and they had something cool to show today. Snap bracelets. I gave the girls the snap bracelets last night. The girls had no idea how they worked until we showed them.
I brought out the bracelets straighten out, then held my girls’ hands and then snapped the bracelet on to their wrist. They responded with a wide-eyed expression that then turned into laughter. My youngest hollered, “Again!”
For the next five minutes my wife and I snapped the bracelets on our daughters’ wrist, on our wrist, and of course even the older ones had to get into the fun. The girls soon wanted to snap the bracelets themselves. My youngest had a tougher time getting enough force behind her snap to get the bracelet to curl around her arm, but she did get it a few times.
My second daughter, though, took off with it. She had it on her ankle, “Look daddy, look at the lizard on my foot!” She had it on her upper arm; she was snapping it on her brothers’ wrist. And she had to take it to bed with her.
This morning they had their snap bracelets on and excited to share with their friends at daycare.
As life does, it got me thinking about education. Without getting too bogged down with deep issues, the snap bracelets are a great example of learning. When my girls were presented with the bracelets they recognized the animals, but did not understand the apparatus the animals were sitting on. We “told” them what it was. They still didn’t totally understand, but they knew what jewelry was and this didn’t look like a bracelet. Then my wife and I demonstrated how it worked. It was the coolest thing they had seen. My girls understood, but weren’t ready to do it themselves, so we demonstrated for a while then handed the bracelets off to them to play with.
Now comes the powerful aspect. My youngest daughter could make it snap once and awhile, but she still needed assistance. Plus, she only wanted it on her wrist. That’s were she is as a two-year-old. But my second daughter, almost a year and a half older, took off with the snap bracelet. Understanding the concept, she tested it out on her ankle, on her upper arm, on her siblings.
Isn’t that what we want in learning? As teachers we are there to show our students the subject matter (a poem, cell division, drawing perspective). We can “tell” them stuff, but once we show them how powerful the subject is, to practice the concept with them until we let them go to expand their own learning. To test the ideas out, to experiment with the concept, to create a new idea… to learn.