Charlie is designing a pin-cushin based on one she saw on her teachers desk. She needs to wrap some leather around something (I didn’t understand it all) but she needed to figure out how much leather she needed, so she needed to figure out the circumference of an object. She found an object about the size she wanted and measured the diameter. I asked Siri for the formula and she broke out the scientific calculator built in to every phone to figure out Diameter x Pi. She then took some wire and wrapped it around the sphere and measured it to double-check her math.
Then she used Siri to convert inches to centimeters so she could ask Christine to get some leather bits from our friend Paolo in Siena.
Meanwhile, Ian’s Dutch friend Lucas wrote a letter. Because the mail is so slow his teacher used Facebook Messenger to send me a photo of it. Ian read the note on his iPad and we went downtown and got a card. He wrote the card while reading the note on the iPad, then I sent a picture to his teacher (again Facebook Messenger) and will put the actual card in the mail once I make it to the post office (I only have “forever stamps” at home) which will hopefully arrive before school ends, but if not the experience still happens.
To me this is what school should look like. Personalized work for every kid based on interests. Math applied to actual projects, not an abstract exercise. Fine motor skills (handwriting, drawing, measuring) combined with using technology for what it does best (research, high level math that people don’t ever do by hand in the real world, long distance communication).