Fourth grade periscopes in the Rainbow Room

"Even a committed educational researcher such as Jerome Bruner ceased to ask the causal question 'how do children learn? and began to ask 'how are meanings made?' It was this complex question that took him out of the clinical setting and into the real world in order to understand the culture of learning (Bruner, 1996. in Art Practice as Research by Graeme Sullivan)

So, how are meanings made, I wonder? What are they made of?
I don't know... but maybe they are made of experiences and reflection- adding thoughts about new experiences to what you already think and remember. I think that in the studio meanings can be made when we use media and materials to form and show our thinking, or to answer a question or solve a 'knotty problem'.
A simple example was when Melanie challenged the fourth graders to show what they know about how light moves by making periscopes.

Think of all of the steps involved-
-playing with light and mirrors long enough to develop a theory about how light moves
-forming an image of the way mirrors could be arranged to move light inside a cardboard structure
-arranging the mirrors through trial and error and getting them to stay in place
-and finally checking to see that your periscope can actually carry an image from one point in space to your eye.

sharing handmade periscopes with the Rainbow room children


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