Saturday, April 6, 2013

Where Does Information Come From? Part II

Using straws as information communicators
T:  Information is an idea that you get that someone tells you. 
An idea is something that you say, “Maybe this will work.” 
An idea is an answer to a question. 
When does an idea turn into information?
O.F.:  When you find out it’s true.

Information is generated through personal and interpersonal agency, effort and action, made possible by the innately human nature of the inquisitive act itself, which prompts investigation and research. More often than not, it is very much a hands on activity.  The act of creating it and sharing it with others has been the larger part of the work of our classroom. We continue to examine not only what we do in microcosm but also in a larger information-sharing context.  

Below are some more drawings that the children created to answer the larger question:  What is knowledge and how is it created and shared?

Above left:  K. created a thought tree that shows how our ideas have evolved during our worm investigation.  Above right:  I. shows how an idea turns into information by looking around at the earth around her. "That's the Earth! That's a flower! That's a snowflake! That's a tree!"
E's thought tree (above):  "Sometimes ideas go on the computer.  Sometimes you lose your thought: this happens when you have to wait to share it." Below: "This is the Thought Tree.  All the thoughts and ideas come from a hole in the tree.  You have a thought and you share it.  Other people get other ideas."

R’s picture (above left) shows the importance of experimentation to test the known and discover the unknown; L.M.'s picture (above right) shows the Big Bang as the beginning of all things:  "First people talked to each other and shared ideas.  Later computers were invented and you can pull up information on the web." He shows not only the connection via electricity and technology, but also the personal interconnectivity.   
T. continues his metaphorical thinking:  "Thoughts give life to plants." The seeds are growing new ideas.
O. shows the transmission of thoughts
K's picture (above):  1) Someone has an idea, 2) It travels to the computer which tells you whether that idea is right or wrong 3) travels to a book, 4) which turns into information. The End.  [But is it?]

We asked the children to represent what they thought their ideas might look like, and then they shared them with Anna Golden, Sabot's own atelieristaSome work represented how the children send ideas to other people while other work was created to show how they capture ideas and make them come to life.   

O.P./T and D.H. created a thought trap: The trap was originally created using a netting bag used to hold lemons, in combination with a coffee can, and the thoughts inside were made of plasticine.  A cord was wrapped around the classroom door knob to raise the can up and set the trap.  Once they realized that the net had holes in it, they thought that it might let some of the thoughts escape, so they then tried plastic sheeting and later a hard plastic container to trap all the thoughts inside.
D.H.:  There is a bad guy that doesn’t like thoughts.  He tries to trap them.  He thinks thoughts are dumb. 
T:  He puts the thoughts into his brain so that he can be the smartest one. 
O.P.:  He’s taking thoughts from good guys.

O.F. created a Thought Tree with plasticine:  It has thoughts on it.  You can shake the tree and thoughts drop. You can climb it and grab a thought.  K created a Thought Tree made with felt ("thoughts are like lines coming out of the tree) while R. made an Idea Tree ripe with Ideas ("there are mood balls lining up to the tree to get the idea fruit.  They go to the idea tree to get their mood.)

O.F.:  You know how a light bulb is an idea symbol?  Ours can be a tree!

D. showed his dead thought tree:  If you’re dead, you have no thoughts at all. 
T: Do we all have one of those?  'Cause we all have ideas every second and if we do, then won’t it grow into a huge oak tree?
L.A.:  When does it stop?
S:  The idea grows until you use it. Once you use it, it poofs away.
Anna:  Do you guys know what a metaphor is?  I think it’s kind of like a metaphor for a school where we’re all learning things. 

L.A. created a thought taco, symbolic of sharing something you eat.   
L.A.:  You can share it with another person. 
Anna:  Like you’re a teacher sharing the ideas with other people.
N:  What does a Thought Taco taste like?
E: Like paper.

E. made a thought blender, thought telescope, and a thought scanner:  To learn knowledge, to get it.  I can scan people’s thoughts. 

B. made a thought spitting monster: It spits out good thoughts.

S. and N. both created a thought crown:   

S:  N’s picture gave me the idea.  My thought tree grew all the way to the top.  It grows when you say something.  A seed would make my idea tree grow.  The little thought seed's shell explodes and turns into a thought.  It falls onto your head and it grows. 

N: It’s an idea tree you can wear on your head.

Anna:  Isn’t that called germinating when a seed starts to grow?

L:  Idea-minating!

E:  The comfy things (the felt on the side of the crown) can help you concentrate on your thoughts.  
S:  When you climb the thought tree, it gives you a lot more thoughts.  


N:  Displaying his thought crown:  These are thought springs, like S’s thought seeds.  They can spring from head to head. 
Anna:  Why would someone want to have no thoughts?
O.F.:  Like if someone had bad thoughts and they didn’t want to have them anymore.  

The children were inspired by their earlier metaphorical discussions about ideas as living things - and by N. and S.'s thought crowns - so they all decided to create their own particular take on the theme: thought crowns and one thought necklace. Their unique visions of how ideas grow and how they are shared took shape using wire and imagination:

S:  You can use anything [any material] to make thoughts because thoughts can be made any way.

Our thoughts are our own, but influenced by thoughts that came before us and thoughts that share our journey of discovery with us.  Differing ideas can share the same pathway and

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