“If you can't explain it to a six year old, you don't understand it yourself.”
My interpretation of this quote is: “We often need to wrestle with complexity before we find simplicity.”
I have been experiencing this often lately. I continue to realize that teaching is about simple fundamentals. We read, we write, we DO something interesting, we CREATE something – and learning happens.
In the physics sandbox I call a classroom I continually try to give students something to DO. This week students are burning food to learn about thermodynamics. Students recently CREATED a roller coaster from paper. I am beginning to see how writing programs can help students see the power and beauty of mathematical models. Students read and watch videos to fill the gaps in their knowledge. They write to think and share with the world what they have begun to understand.
Why do we make school so stinking complicated? If we want our students to become lifelong learners we need to make education less complicated. We need to show them the joy of learning and a model that can be repeated and applied over a lifetime of learning.