School is supposed to be a place of learning, but sometimes it slips up and falls into a groove of rote memorization, standardized testing and illogical problems that no one cares enough to answer. However, there is light that creeps up around these obstacles and shines through. In the past week, I’ve had the wonderful opportunity to experience some of these golden, “true” learning moments.
As a way of seeing physics in action, my entire freshman class trekked out to Six Flags, a roller coaster theme park, to participate in their physics day. In preparation for the trip, we discussed problems related to specific coasters at the park and applied concepts we’d learned throughout the year to them. This is beneficial, because it’s relevant to the real world. School should allow students to learn for the real world, because in the end, that’s where the real tests will be.
My math teacher turned our curriculum down time before our next test into a challenge. Find and create a geometry problem incorporating a location on campus. This allows us to see that geometry is truly everywhere. My friends and I then wondered what the campus would look like if everything was made out of geometric shapes. Wouldn’t that be a project!
And while clearing up the table after dinner one night, I wanted to know what would happen if I dropped my cup off the edge of the porch: would it land flat, split evenly or crash into a million pieces? My dad let me test it out from a few feet above ground, but not from the top on the porch.
True learning doesn’t have to be in school anymore. School is a vehicle for knowledge, but there’s more than one option. Everywhere you go, you can learn something new. So now when the inevitable ‘what did you learn today?’ is asked, think not only of classes, but also of any moments throughout the day that struck you in some way or another. Because in those small moments, powerful new thoughts and ideas can emerge. And that, is true learning.