The school where I teach Art and Photography gave us a training on how to teach online in case they’d have to close because of COVID-19. During the workshop they gave us bottled water, and when I brought it home (and thoroughly disinfected it) Adèle shouted with joy: “I know what I can do with it!”
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A year ago, she saw an idea in her Look I’m an Engineer book and wanted to try it. The plastic bottle was the missing piece.
Adèle built this pendulum and then experimented with the length of the yarn. At some point, paint got blocked in the bottle so she tried different ways of unclogging it. Finally, with the right consistency, she started to get a “nice design” because the bottle was swinging “in a circle.”
“Why does it do that,” I asked?
“Because of gravity,” she replied.
She knew about gravity from a space exhibition we recently saw at a museum and made the link. She said in space it wouldn’t work because things would float.
This led us to discussing Isaac Newton and I looked up his biography.
Turns out, most of his amazing discoveries where made during a time of self-isolation and social distancing.
In 1665, Trinity College, Cambridge where Newton was studying, closed down because of the Bubonic plague.
So, Newton went home in the countryside and spent his time – not studying texts – but patiently, experimenting. He believed that real knowledge was gained from observations and hands-on experiments (i.e. not through reading textbooks).
I went to buy some food at a local shop and the shopkeeper said: “I’d rather be here than stuck at home in quarantine with two kids.”
I’m sure this is the mentality of many people right now. Understandably, if you never spend this much time with your kids and suddenly life forces you to stay indoors with them for weeks, the thought of that alone would make you feel scared and overwhelmed.
But I urge you to look at it in a different way.
Take it as a gift from the universe. It is allowing you precious time to bond with your kids! Time to play, time to read, time to just talk and be together without any exterior distractions.
Isaac Newton said: “We build too many walls and not enough bridges.”
Work, TV, phones, tablets, chores have all become walls that keep us from bonding and connecting. So why not use this time to start building some bridges instead?
And perhaps, being away from school, your kids can also, patiently, experiment and discover something amazing…
..and maybe, so will you. 😉
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