Fallingwater Residency to Classroom Part 1


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cara armstrong
curator of education, fallingwater
western pennsylvania conservancy
p.o. box r, 1478 mill run road, mill run, pa 15464
v 724-329-7823
f 724-329-7823

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  • Historic house museums serve many purposes: entertainment, inspiration, and education. People from all over the world go to them for enjoyment and fun; they go to find inspiration and to feel awe and wonder; and they go for casual and formal educational experiences. Classrooms may have the 3 “R”s, but these sites also have benefits of the 3 “A”s—the authentic, the aesthetic, and the accessible.
  • Historic house museums serve many purposes: entertainment, inspiration, and education. People from all over the world go to them for enjoyment and fun; they go to find inspiration and to feel awe and wonder; and they go for casual and formal educational experiences. Classrooms may have the 3 “R”s, but these sites also have benefits of the 3 “A”s—the authentic, the aesthetic, and the accessible.
  • When Edgar Kaufmann, jr. entrusted Fallingwater to the WPC in 1963, he placed education as critical to Fallingwater’s new role as a public resource. How do we allow people an augmented appreciation?
  • Multiple Intelligences: Howard Gardner-- psychologist who is based at New York University . Nine separate human faculties that “process information that can be activated in a cultural setting to solve problems create products that are of value in a culture” In essence, Gardner is arguing that different individuals have different strengths and methods of understanding events and the world that surrounds them as well as possessing different modalities for communicating this understanding. Narrative and Intelligence: Roger Schank--leading visionary in artificial intelligence . We have difficulty remembering such abstractions, but we can more easily remember a good story. Stories give life to past experience" (p.10). Using and understanding these life events to construct personal narratives and stories will assist an individual to learn, understand and attach their lives. Explaining the world (at least to yourself) is a critical aspect of intelligence. Comprehending events around you depends on having a memory of prior events available for helping in the interpretation of new events. Communities of Learners: Seymour Papert-- MIT mathematician , computer scientist , and educator In “The Children’s Machine”, Seymour Papert describes how groups of learners of any age come together and form communities of learners. These communities are not limited only to traditional schools; they can be seen in Brazilian samba academies, Chinese kung-fu schools and Jewish Yeshivas. Papert provides examples that illustrate that there are no limits to defining what students are, other then individuals who possess the desire to learn and participate. Novices are taught by the experienced and will later pass on the knowledge and skills gained to other novices that are not geographically bound. Habits and Habitats: Sir Ken Robinson-- Creativity and Innovation Expert Okay, well if you want to boil it down in two minutes, it’s about two things; it’s about habits and habitats. I mean by habit, the routines that we follow during the course of our daily life, the more we do the same thing everyday, the more we think the same way. So, one of the ways of unleashing your creative capacity is to do different things, stimulate your imagination, do things you wouldn’t normally do. If you never go to an Opera, go to one. If there are some books you have never read, go and read them. If there are people in your building you have never spoken to, go and speak to them. If you go the same way to work everyday, go some other way. Open your mind to new possibilities and new experiences and do things you haven’t done before, because often, being creative is finding a new medium of expression for yourselves, and the people who achieve most I think have found their medium, they are in their element, and they love the thing they do. So, open yourself out to new experiences and question the things you take for granted, so change habits. Secondly, it’s habitats. Really the environment we live in, the environments we work in, the way we configure the desks, the buildings, who we relate to, has a huge effect on how we think and how well we think. Redesigning your office space, redesigning the physical relationships between you and other people can have a huge liberating effect on your whole creative capacity.
  • In Edgar Kaufman’s vision, a historic house museum becomes a compelling and engaging aesthetic environment; one that encourages us to explore, mentally and physically, and to develop our own understanding. What has only been read about in books can be personally discovered through multiple senses and individually understood and interpreted. The experience of personal discovery, through observation and interaction, allows us to remember what we have learned and develops intellectual tools we can use throughout our lives. What Kaufmann describes is creating a learning environment for inquiry-based and object-base learning.
  • Inquiry" is defined as "a seeking for truth, information, or knowledge -- seeking information by questioning." Individuals carry on the process of inquiry from the time they are born until they die. This is true even though they might not reflect upon the process. Infants begin to make sense of the world by inquiring. From birth, babies observe faces that come near, they grasp objects, they put things in their mouths, and they turn toward voices. The process of inquiring begins with gathering information and data through applying the human senses -- seeing, hearing, touching, tasting, and smelling.
  • Effective inquiry is more than just asking questions. A complex process is involved when individuals attempt to convert information and data into useful knowledge. Useful application of inquiry learning involves several factors: a context for questions, a framework for questions, a focus for questions, and different levels of questions. Well-designed inquiry learning produces knowledge formation that can be widely applied.
  • What does that mean? Looking at things in new ways. Making the familiar strange. For example: rubber bands and 50 questions about them We used rubber bands to look at history, physics, archeology, music, economics, measuring systems, games, ecology, fashion, sociology, travel, technology, and aesthetics. In the same way, we can look at architecture and the built environment from a variety of perspectives.
  • These are the first 3 images that popped up when I Googled “architecture”. And it is not very accessible! Most adults in our society do not think of the built environment of their own lives as "architecture." They do not perceive architecture and architects as relevant to their experience, and the process by which the built environment comes into being is a mystery to them. Yet the forms of intelligence and behavior necessary to create the built environment transcend architecture. They are relevant to the full range of human endeavor. Architectural problem solving develops the ability to analyze and to synthesize, to understand the parts and the whole. The practice of architecture is interactive and cooperative. The perspective of an architect is interdisciplinary and holistic. It is a loss both to the profession and to society that architectural process is shrouded in mystery.
  • Fallingwater Residency to Classroom Part 1

    1. 1. From Teacher Residency to the Classroom (From Infinity to Beyond!) Cara Armstrong Judy Nygard Broekemeier Claire Gallagher
    2. 2. <ul><li>The 3 “A”s </li></ul><ul><li>Authentic </li></ul><ul><li>Aesthetic </li></ul><ul><li>Accessible </li></ul>
    3. 3. Whatever Wright’s insight brought forth, whatever the family’s way of life contributed to particularize his achievement, what the natural setting means when merged with high art and quotidian joys, all this is spread out …for an immense variety of individuals to absorb and question each in his or her own way. That is education at the root level, not a learned skill but an augmented appreciation. Edgar Kaufmann, jr.
    4. 4. Learning Theory in Action! <ul><li>Howard Gardner’s Multiple Intelligences </li></ul><ul><li>Roger Schank’s Narrative and Intelligence </li></ul><ul><li>Seymour Papert’s Communities of Learners </li></ul><ul><li>Sir Ken Robinson’s Habits and Habitats </li></ul>
    5. 5. Fallingwater A Context for Inquiry
    6. 6. Fallingwater A Context for Inquiry
    7. 7. Fallingwater A Context for Inquiry <ul><li>a context for questions </li></ul><ul><li>a framework for questions </li></ul><ul><li>a focus for questions </li></ul><ul><li>different levels of questions </li></ul>
    8. 8. Take 5 rubber bands and look at them at them for a few minutes. Then put them out of site and sketch one from memory. How does your drawing compare to the real rubber band? How are they alike? How are they different? 2. Imagine that you are speaking with someone who has never seen a rubber band. Describe it to him or her out loud. 3. Describe a rubber band to a friend without telling or showing him or her what it is—can they guess what you are describing? 4. Look at your rubber bands again. Are they all exactly the same? Choose one and write a description so that someone could pick your rubber band out of the group of five. See if a friend can actually do so. 5. Look at the rubber band with a magnifying glass. What other details can you see? 6. What is the shape of a cross section of the rubber band? How does the shape changing depending on where you take the cross section? Depending on how you pull the rubber band? 7. What is important about the size and shape of the rubber band? 8. List different words for shapes and forms that apply to the rubber band. 9. How can you tell an old rubber band from a new one? 10. What is the rubber band made of? What are some characteristics of the material? Where does this material come from? Does it have a “memory”—does it return to its original shape after it has been stretched?11. How far can you shoot the rubber band? Does it make a difference if it is thick or thin? Make a knot in the middle of the rubber band and now shoot it again. What happens? What if you move the knot in the rubber band? 12. What happens if you put the rubber band in the freezer for a few hours or overnight? Does its elasticity change? 13. What happens if you warm it with a hair dryer? Does it smell differently? Is it stretchier? 14. How resilient is the rubber band? How many times and how far can you stretch it before it breaks? 15. What are some things that are more resilient? What are some things that are less resilient? 16. List things that are made out of the same material as rubber bands. 17. How many inches of material are needed to make a rubber band? Measure it and see. How many rubber bands could be made out of one mile of material? 18. How much do you think 100 rubber bands weigh? How does your estimate compare with the actual weight? 19. How many rubber bands can be made out of 100 pounds of material? 20. How many rubber bands could you mail to a friend using just one first class stamp? 21. Make a list of things that are smaller than a rubber band. Make a list of things that weigh less than a rubber band. 22. What are some other ways people hold things together? What are advantages and disadvantages of each method? 23. Do you think rubber bands have been around very long? Why or why not? How long is “very long” in your thinking? 24. What do you think people did before the rubber band was invented? 25. How could you find out who invented the rubber band? When? Where? 26. Have rubber bands changed from when they were invented until now? If so, how? 27. What things do people use rubber band for besides holding things together? Think of as many as you can and then interview friends and family to add to your list. Which idea is the most unusual? The funniest? The prettiest? The most imaginative? The most dangerous? The most. . .? 28. If someone dropped in from another planet and knew nothing about rubber bands, what do you think they might think they were used for? 29. Would rubber bands make good units for measuring the weight of things? Why or why not? 30. Would rubber bands be suitable for use as money? Which would be worth more—a thin one or a thick one? A red one or a blue one? Why or why not? 31. Could you wear rubber bands? If so, how? Where? What if the rubber bands were very tiny? What if they were very big? 32. What is the smallest rubber band you can find? What is the biggest? 33. What if you changed the scale of the rubber band? What if you could walk on it? What if you could see the molecules that made the rubber band—what would they look like? 34. How do you think rubber bands are made? 35. If someone told you each rubber band is made by hand, what evidence would you have to support or refute that statement? 36. Are rubber bands disposable? Recyclable? Reusable? 37. What is the average life span of a rubber band? How long do they last? How could you find this out? 38. Are rubber bands expensive? Are they common? What does this tell you about the material from which they are made? About the society which produced them? 39. Do you think archeologists one thousand years from now will find evidence of rubber bands in our society? Where? Why? 40. How many rubber bands are manufactured in our country each year? How could you find out? 41. How do you think rubber bands might be improved? 42. Which do you think is more important to us—rubber bands or paper clips? Why? 43. How many words can you make out of the letters in “rubber band”? 44. Create a piece of art using rubber bands. 45. Invent a game to play with rubber bands. What would it be? How would you play it? What would you call your new game? 46. If you were stranded on a desert island with a handful of rubber bands, how would you use them? 47. Take your 5 rubber bands and make them into a ball. How high does it bounce? Add a rubber band. Does it bounce any higher? 48. Make a musical instrument using your rubber bands. Compose a song. Do you know any songs that include rubber bands? 49. Write a story about the imaginary travels of a rubber band through its lifetime. 50. Write a haiku about your rubber band.
    9. 9. Accessible?