What I like the most about facilitating learning is the magic of connecting the dots. Or, better, being patient enough to see the kids connecting the dots by themselves.
Just a small thing today, seeing how the eyes light up when a book description of how paleontologists study dinosaur fossils matches what we have seen at archeological excavation in Veliky Novgorod a few weeks ago. Precious.
And then, of course, we had to do an excavation ourselves, which still have to be finished and properly documented (because it was interrupted by an applestroop project, also to be finished). And it’s all started from one very round stone that looked very much like a dinosaur egg and an innocent question about the actual size of those eggs.
This is how learning usually happens in our family: we start at one point and end up somewhere totally different. This time Anna wanted to draw a butterfly and wasn’t sure how to draw it and how to color the wings. We talked about the shape, about symmetry and then Robert mentioned that “sometimes they even have ‘eyes’ on their wings”.
That usually calls for an encyclopedia. It came out, we looked at the ‘eyes’ and talked why they were there. And then discussed other things about butterflies (as well as their differences from moths – just because there was a comparison on the page). However, Alexander was more interested in the little square showing numbers of extinct, endangered, vulnerable and threatened butterfly species and a corresponding graph.
We ended up looking through the whole book to find what the abbreviations meant and to compare endangered species graphs for different classes of animals. Then (of course :)) the relationship between the numbers and the graphs came out. So we talked about it, played making pie charts and then other types of graphs that kids know from looking at the weather forecasts…
And the good thing is that despite all that Anna has actually managed to draw and color her butterfly, complete with its own eyes and eyelashes :)