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Learning Through Tinkering

wrote an editorial in the New York Times about her belief that children learn best when allowed to figure things out for themselves.

She writes:

“My 9-year-old daughter is in the midst of a “pioneer” unit in her third grade class. It’s a great example of a project-based curriculum: The kids are developing math skills by determining what and how much they can pack without overloading wagons for a cross-country trek. They roll a “twist of fate” die that presents (virtual) obstacles they might have faced in the late 19th century — bad weather, loss of livestock, etc. — and then have to problem-solve to get their trek back on track. They’re reading a variety of historical perspectives, such as Louise Erdrich’s “The Birchbark House” and Laura Ingalls Wilder’s “Little House” books. And perhaps most important, they’re learning about self-sufficiency and resilience — and how even the youngest kids needed it in spades.”

“If we want to raise kids to be independent thinkers and change-makers, one of the best things we can do is give them the tools to figure stuff out for themselves.”

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