Exposure, Experience and Wonder

Years ago, my son was enamored with science. He loved learning about how the world worked and “tinkering” with objects just to see their reactions. I imagine that he did this because internally, he developed his own theories and “testing them out” was just his thing. Then he entered 5th grade and with that came state mandated testing in science which, in my opinion, destroyed the “natural curiosity” that learning science provided. His learning of science, for years, has been reduced to textbooks, packets, power points and test prep questions.

Yesterday, I saw my son ignited in a way that I have not seen in years and all it took was a family outing to the Dallas World Aquarium and the Perot museum. Over the years, it has been interesting hearing peers talk about the learning habits of teens as if it were biologically normal that they give up on high school learning. They do not. As a matter of fact, it’s not that they dislike school. It’s that school is sometimes not that interesting. I’m sorry but we, as adults, hate the “death by powerpoint” experience and to be clear…so do kids.

I saw my son throw himself into the arms of science. I saw him getting excited about the wonders of the world while wondering quite a bit himself. I purchased a family membership and that purchase guarantees that on any given day, he can explore and tinker in the museum…a place that houses a robotics playground in the Texas Instruments Engineering Hall, an Energy Hall, Physics Hall and more biological discoveries than he will ever receive in school.

The best part was taking this journey with him while also providing early exposure to 9 year old Braeden, who until yesterday had never experienced any of those things. As a parent, I wonder how much I may have impacted my son and nephew by spending about $100 and committing to their learning.

For my nephew, who has been drawing animals with a vengeance lately, this trip was especially meaningful because he has only been drawing what he knew to find on google. He has never seen any of the things that he creates in person. Spending the morning at the Dallas World Aquarium was earth shattering for him. Heading over to the museum was priceless. I handed him my phone to capture “his wonders”, things that he can research later. Our next stop…The Dallas Zoo!

I wish that every kid had these opportunities and I am so grateful that I KNOW the importance of these moments.

Again…I am deeply cognizant of the fact that I am their privilege.

More Parent-Educator Wonders…

1. Why did we cancel school field trips again? The Math Alive Exhibit would be perfect for classes to experience!!

2. Why can’t everyday learning be filled with more of this in lieu of “STAAR test questions”?

3. I wonder if teachers need to go to places like this with interactive inquiry based exhibits in order to “get inquiry”.

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