C's bookshelf: read

The Peculiar
Maggot Moon
The City and the City
The Road
A Certain Slant of Light
The Muses Among Us: Eloquent Listening and Other Pleasures of the Writer's Craft
Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood
Brown Girl in the Ring
Well Wished
The Innkeeper's Song
Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art
American Indian Myths and Legends
The Left Hand of Darkness
The Return of the King
The Fellowship of the Ring
The Two Towers

C S Peterson's favorite books »

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Wizards and Particle Physics

Today was a day for making connections.  I finally put the whole list of spring topics I will be designing field trips for into my spreadsheet.  It is like Christmas, opening up all these bits of science, history and art that our students want to study.  I love my job.

My own children have told me about a game that has become popular in the high school.  First one player picks two wildly unrelated topics, “carrots” and “World War I” for example.  The second player then looks up the first topic, “carrots” in this case, on Wikipedia.  Then, clicking on only the blue highlighted words in the wikipedia articles the second player creates a trail of links from the first topic to the second, trying to make it in as few moves as possible.  Then the first player comes up with two topics to challenge the first player.  The winner is the one who has linked between the two topics with the smallest number of moves.

I felt I was playing that game after a fashion as I made my topics list, noticing links and connections between the topics as I typed them in, musing about the possibilities for our adventures: One student wants to know all about Astronauts, one about Space Stations. Well these obviously connect, we will go to the museum and look at space suits and models of the ISS, and perhaps the student studying the Universe should come along.  Well the Universe, that topic connects to everything, doesn’t it!  

The Elements and Particle Physics they connect.  Oh!  I wish I could take them to a virtual reality interactive Periodic Table so we could walk around inside it and move the elemental atoms around, experimenting with how they stick together and pull apart.  Perhaps we should go to a Chemistry Magic Show.  Well that kind of trip would obviously connect with the student studying Wizards and Their Potions.  Didn’t Chemistry start as Alchemy after all? 

And then there are the children studying Italy, the Renaissance and Venice.  There is a walk through five cities of the Italian Renaissance at the Art Museum – we should go there together.  But the Wizard student and the Universe student should come too.  How could we miss living for a moment in the environment that gave birth to Western Science out of Magic and shifted our Western view of the Universe from ridged hierarchy to one where “Man is the Measure of All Things?” And the student writing a Fantasy Novel, shouldn’t she come as well, to Space and to the Renaissance, to meet the Tibetan monk and to see the Komodo Dragons at the zoo, then to sit with the child studying the Universe creating their new vision of a magical world?


  1. How wonderful that you think like that! It is such a gift to the students, & you wrote it like a pathway, for the rest of us following along, snatching a few connections along the way. Happy spring!

  2. Very cool game! And I love your new blog! I'm linking it at mine so I don't lose it.

    Peace and Laughter,