Tuesday, April 30, 2013

May Sign ups and the Philosophy of Messy Fingers

May Sign ups are open at the library - call them at 508 865 1181. They will tell you that it is full but if there is actually enough interest, I will run a second session on Tuesdays at 12:30 or 1pm.  We are diving into spring science with Sun/Shadows, Pets, and Buoyancy.

I was chatting with Mrs. V, the director of the Library today after MF and we got on the subject of the philosophy behind some of the "rules" in Messy Fingers. A few new folks checked us out today, but didn't sign up for next month. We came to the conclusion that the Messy Fingers's attitude can be... well overwhelming to some folks.

My philosophy about inquiry-based science - where we ask a lot of questions, test those questions, collect data, and share what we learned - is rather simple. Science is a verb. In the vocabulary of teachers, this means it is an action word.

The only way to really practice inquiry-based science is to DO IT.  So that means that I will ask parents not to cut out stuff, not to put stuff together, not to rush through the process. Is this the easy way?  No. It isn't always neat, it isn't always going to work the first time, it takes longer, and it is messy. But it is the very best way to really understand science and to live it.

So this comes out in some unexpected ways  like "No chairs for kids" because if you are sitting, you are passive and MF is so not passive. In fact, it is anti-passive. When you are sitting on the floor you are more likely to participate and be a part of the group. Mom or Dad or Grandma are more likely to be involved in the activities when they are sitting on the floor or actively engaged in our activities.

And I do ask parents to get involved. Your observations are  not the same as your childs and can enrich the discussion. Every child needs an adult to share discoveries with and to be a companion on science adventures.

So let's embrace the mess and do some science.

1 comment:

  1. Well said. I did notice some confused expressions today. :)