Summer is all around us, the smell of suntan lotion and cotton candy fills the air. With it comes the age old question that comes up this time every: Is a 250 day school year the answer to our educational woes? Is it worth the extra cost? Is it worth the extra effort? There is of course no definitive consensus on these questions, but of course, I would hope, as educators, we would answer yes to both questions. But do (did) we as educators miss a golden opportunity to spark curiosity?
A 39,000 year old Woolly Mammoth was put on display in a museum in Japan. Of course, this story peaked my interest, but I’m a geek. So what does an old smelly woolly mammoth have to do with year around school? My point is that I would venture to guess most students know nothing of this story. What a shame…an amazing teaching opportunity has come and gone.
It highlights the importance of being in “education mode” all year long. Am I ready to testify in front of the school board and preach a 250 day school year? No not really. However what I would like to see is a way to share these teachable moments with students anytime, anywhere. This little blurb on Yahoo News is a huge moment in the future of science; after all we now have the chance to possibly clone an animal that has been extinct for 30,000 years! If that doesn’t get you fired up! Well OK, perhaps to some it is not as interesting, but to me it is amazing.
Here is what I would love to see. I would like to have a method of contact (Tweeter, Facebook, Blogger, or a combination of methods) to reach the students. Yes even during the summer! I would like to be able to provide them with this type of “inspirational” information. I would like to be able to ask them to read about the artifact and seek out additional information. I would then ask them to write a short report about the impact cloning (or maybe bringing back to life) a Woolly Mammoth would have on the food chain? Then I would encourage them to “discover” information about their favorite “extinct” or nearly “extinct” animal. What affect would it have on the environment if we brought them back to life? Where would this animal stand on the food chain? Would it disrupt the eco-balance?
I see pie charts, graphs, PowerPoint presentation, videos, blogs, visits to the zoo, to museums, a virtual tour of the Smithsonian…I see FUN!!!!!! And now I’m awake and back to reality! See you in August…hope I still remember about the Woolly Mammoth!