Bringing Discovery Back

On Friday I was invited/gatecrashed a visit by our Deputy Principals to see the Mind Lab in Newmarket. It is an incredible space that really empowers people to discover science, technology and engineering. We are having a large MakerSpace built in our new school so were looking forward to seeing some ideas for how it could be set up and used plus work out what the Mind Lab could offer above what we could do in future.

Chris Clay met us and showed us around the amazing space while explaining what each area is used for: film special effects, 3D animation, robotics, coding, science…it was incredible as you can see from the photos below:

What a Science Lab can look like

What a Science Lab can look like

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The Coding Room and Corridor down to Robotics

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Drum Kit made out of Cardboard and tin foil hooked up to a MaKey MaKey so it sounds like a real drum kit!

Even more impressive than the spaces and technology though was the thinking behind it all. Chris is absolutely passionate about bringing the discovery back into Science. This is a message that really resonated with how we are viewing learning at Hobsonville Point Secondary School and for my personal beliefs of what education should be. So much of Science in schools is following a recipe for an experiment to get the same solution as everyone else and in some cases the solution that you already know the answer for. Chris wants to see Science change to bring back the excitement of discovering new knowledge – whether it be 5 year olds discovering how much treasure their pirate ship can carry or older students working out how to make their rockets hit the roof faster than anyone else. His TEDx Talk should be out soon on Youtube and will be a must watch for anyone interested in education. (In the meantime you can listen to his interview on National Radio)

Talking with Chris reminded me of Dan Raven-Ellison’s TEDx talk on Exploration from earlier in the year:

Chris’ passion for discovery links well with the ideas of exploration as outlined by Dan and rang bells for me as someone who has spent the last year and a half spreading the word about Guerrilla Geography and Exploration mindsets in education. This week is also the latest episode of Guerrilla Geography Day where we globally collaborate on a critical and creative exploration action.

The visit really brought home for Claire, Lea, Di and I how important it is to break out of old schooling mindsets to undertake the sort of education we are aiming at. The discovery/design thinking/exploration style of learning is the core of what we are trying to do to personalise learning and empower our students. To be able to do this we as teachers need to have a similar mindset. This means more design thinking and discovery challenges for staff over the next month so this style of learning is at the forefront as we plan our modules for next year.

And hey, who doesn’t love a bit of tinkering to learn:

Miss Almost 4 and I using a Robotics Kit (bought from The Mind Lab) trying to make a car faster than Lightning McQueen

Miss Almost 4 and I using a Robotics Kit (bought from The Mind Lab) trying to make a car faster than Lightning McQueen

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2 thoughts on “Bringing Discovery Back

  1. Reblogged this on e-Odyssey and commented:
    I really enjoyed this blog, and in particular this TEDEx talk. Some of my ‘takeways’ from this presentation include:
    Allowing students to explore -> play -> learn, which is a process that requires critical thinking and creativity. We shouldn’t just accept things the way they are.
    Daniel, the speaker, makes two suggests for ways we can be explorers:
    1, Being a ‘polar’ explorer – thinking about the extremes, the most to the least
    2. Being a ‘circumnavigator’ – walking around the edges of things to see what is marginalised and what is centralised – this suggests values and is a political act.
    Without exploration there is no discovery, and students deserve an ‘a-ha!’ moment.

  2. Pingback: Curiosity and Inspiration | Steve Mouldey

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