Track Update and Experiential Learning

Hi Everyone,

The Track is Underway!:

The track is well underway at this point. The incredible machines have left us and in their wake the ground work has been completed. There is a brief pause until the rain clears up and then we will be up and running (pun intended) in no time!

Experiential Learning:
This week Jackie’s class is in Ashland. This is the culmination of months of students planning and learning about various facets of travel, Shakespeare, theater, and so much more. I’m not going to give away the details of their trip. That is for them to share when they return, but the gist is that this is truly an exciting learning experience that was developed by the students.

Yesterday our entire third grade class traveled to Ardenwood Farm. We started the tour with a walk along a path that led us to the barn and a lovely green with picnic tables populated by several peacocks and peahens.

I laughed a lot during the corn shelling portion of our trip. Who knew that farmers originally used seashells to assist in the removal of corn kernels from the cob??

The kids in my group agreed that it was a lot of work to remove the kernels from the dried husks of indian corn. We tried using our fingers which was a very slow process and then switched over to a corn shelling device made of cast iron. That was much faster but still took quite a bit of effort. Inside the barn we raced to see which team could remove the most kernels with the hand crank version. That was hilarious! I’m sure someone has a video of the event.
We all wanted to try the big automated corn sheller, but only farm staff were allowed to operate the hand crank on the big machine.

I was reminded of the ancient phrase, “Mater artium necessitas” (Necessity is the mother of invention.) Farms are ripe with examples of invention and we were presented with four examples just with the different type of corn shellers. If we included the tools used to clean the laundry and the rope and pulley system used to load bales of hay, we’d have several more!

Many of the tools on the farm appeared to have been designed to allow work to be completed quicker or with less effort. This didn’t eliminate work it just lessened their load and there was a LOT to do in the course of a day.

I’m grateful that our guides made a point of asking questions that would encourage our students to compare their own lives and world to those who lived and worked on a farm.

Is life on a farm different from your life? If so how? How is it similar?
Why do we have sheep and goats on a farm?
How many children wake up before dawn to do their daily chores before breakfast and then head off to school?
Did children who lived on farms have time to play?

These days, very few people live on farms in Silicon Valley. This trip offered a glimpse into a different life experience and a window into someone else’s world. Adventures of this nature help us appreciate the strengths and challenges of others and provide us with a chance to reflect on our own life.

Ok…last but not least…techies…stop what you’re doing…click on this link… and type in part “121G” right now. Seriously…it’s worth it.

Have a wonderful weekend!


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