I don’t often have the question “When are we going to use this?” launched at me. Sometimes I wonder why? Why aren’t my learners asking this question? I often ask myself “When are they ever going to use this really?” when teaching Algebra I. How can I better show our learners that algebra is used for many real purposes, not just on a test?
On September 14, 2010, I had the privilege of attending TEDxAtl where I heard Logan Smalley talk about creating a movement with Movement Turned Movie. Logan introduced us to Darius Weems and his story Darius Goes West. In the spring, Darius joined our 8th graders for their retreat – an amazing experience for all.
On July 19, we will host approximately 170 teachers from nine different states for a summer learning experience. We’ve done this summer camp for teachers for several years. Each year there is a teacher or two who will struggle to navigate our campus. There are stairs everywhere. We do have elevators, but they are not always in the most convenient places.
In Synergy, we problem-find and attempt to problem-solve based on observations of our environment and community. Logan’s advocacy for wheelchair accessible spaces combined with accommodating teacher-learners with mobility problems has caused me to want to learn more about our campus and the ease of access to our spaces.
Where are our ramps and elevators? What are the requirements and specifications for these ramps? Are the requirements based on the angle of elevation or the ratio of the length of the ramp to the height of the ramp? Is the angle of elevation connected to the ratio of length to height? Isn’t this rise over run?
What can be learned by investigating the ramps on our campus? Does our learning have to be restricted to our campus?
- Algebra? (I think there must be slope, geometry, and right triangle trig at a minimum.)
- Science? (I think mechanical advantage might come in to play here.)
- Writing workshop? (Do we need more ramps? Are there areas where a ramp is needed? How can we advocate for others?)
- History? (When and why did the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) become law?)