“Did you know Saudi Arabia imports camels from Australia?”
“Did you know that if Denmark and Sweden play a football match, it’s SWE-DEN, and the letters that are not used are DEN-MARK?”
“Did you know that I know how to recite the first 50 digits of pi?”
Kids pride themselves on being able to recall facts of every discipline, varying in degree from the microscopically trivial to the earth-shatteringly mind-blowing.
However, what does it mean when one says one knows something? Is knowing all the facts in the world same as knowing everything in the world? In this introductory unit to Grade 5 Social Studies, before knowing anything about ancient civilisations, we delve into the big question, “What constitutes knowledge?”
Using the Structure of Knowledge as a guide, students put on a conceptual lens to see the world. What does this lens look like?
One can see a piece of fruit as a piece of fruit. One can see a bug as a bug. Or one can see the fruit as nutrition, and the bug as a living thing.
Drawing connections between the concepts of nutrition and living things, one can craft a generalisation that “Living things depend on nutrition”- a statement that is generally true through time and space.
Boom. All from an unassuming piece of fruit and an innocent little bug.
The difference in perspective is the lens one puts on to see the world: a superficial one, or a conceptual one.
However, this is not just an exercise in theory! Nah, that would be lame.
Students headed out to the school grounds, making generalisations from concepts from the things they see all around the school, seeing that everything has a conceptual meaning, and everything can become that much meaningful, only if we seek meaning.
Students then seek meaning in the places where voices are lowered and minds are lifted: the library. Information in books are not just information anymore. With the Structure of Knowledge as a map, students venture forth into the world of big ideas.
No longer are words just words, and things just things. They are keys to greater ideas, and ideas, unlike words or things, are bulletproof.