Week 5 at Tsula Adohi – Autumn Semester 2022
This week, we continued with many of the activities we’ve been doing including morning check-in, sewing, archery, gathering, hiking, identifying and our math and new science class. Some of us also did some individual activities including “L” kite flying and “J” using the LOGO programming language to have a robot read a story he had written.
In math class, we focused on starting class with math problems and concepts that arise in our various projects, like talking about what size tarp we would need for a structure that we could all comfortably sit under.
Through the forest-like process of interacting with things as they crossed our path we have identified upwards of a hundred species of local beings and talked about and looked for instances of the following in nature: patterns of arrangement (including plant morphology), patterns of interaction, patterns of patterns (meta-patterns), common ecological as compared to factory meta-patterns of interaction and arrangement, synthesis and decomposition, the physics and chemistry of fire and the importance of surface area in many physical processes.
This week, “R”, on one of our hikes, spotted a bunch of oyster mushrooms (Pleurotus pulmonarius) that we harvested. Later in the week, when I discussed my intent to go harvest more oysters, I told the group I would do a little talk about mushrooms first and then we would go forage. Everyone chose to participate in the talk and then “R”, “B” and I went foraging and found some ginseng along with more oysters. We also got a new low-power microscope that’s great for looking at leaves and insects and mushrooms up close. We all really enjoyed looking at mushroom gills and pores up close, and bug wings. Both of these activities happened outside of “science class.”
Our approach to science is responsive to place, season, and participants interests, wants and needs at any given time. Our focus is on the basic scientific facts that we (all living and non-living participants in Earth’s ecosystems) are remarkably similar and remarkable interdependent. We also focus on big generative ideas and patterns. Our explorations thus far have focused on: identifying local beings, common patterns of arrangement and interaction in nature, the differences in patterns common in forests and those common in factories, and simple chemistry of hydrogen, carbon and oxygen, working up to the wonder complementarity of photosynthesis and respiration. As part of this approach to science, we used our official class time this week to model water, carbon dioxide, methane and diatomic oxygen and hydrogen molecules. I’m working up to the kid’s understanding and feeling the beauty of the reciprocal nature of respiration and photosynthesis.