Filed under Lesson Ideas

Butterflies, Mathematicians, and Creativity

Butterflies, Mathematicians, and Creativity

This is Katherine Johnson. I know it looks like a monarch butterfly egg, and it is, but its name is Katherine Johnson. It is not every butterfly egg that is fortunate enough to be named after an early NASA mathematician, but this one is. Katherine—the butterfly version—was named by my four-year-old friend, who holds Katherine … Continue reading

Real Work, Real World, and Creativity

Real Work, Real World, and Creativity

I have a friend who, together with her quadriplegic husband, raised four wonderful children. Those “children” are now adults with not-so-young children of their own, and I continue to be impressed with their intelligence, integrity, and persistence in the face of obstacles. My friend and I have talked over the years about the things that … Continue reading

Curiosity for Understanding

Curiosity for Understanding

I’m having trouble watching the news these days. Truth is, that’s been true for years now. I have to moderate my news consumption to keep from being swamped by the flow of negativity and anger. I know people have always disagreed, but it hasn’t always seemed that our view of those we disagreed with was … Continue reading

Creative Archeology: Motel of the Mysteries

Creative Archeology: Motel of the Mysteries

When I was a child, I loved the story of archeologist Howard Carter uncovering King Tut’s tomb. I could easily envision his face as he first peered within and glimpsed the treasures inside, exclaiming that he saw “Things, wonderful things!” These words are echoed by fictional archeologist Howard Carson in David Macaulay’s 1979 book, Motel … Continue reading

Creating a Sonnet

Creating a Sonnet

I finished writing a sonnet today. In French. I make no claim that it was a good sonnet. In fact, when explaining it, I labeled it ”A sonnet that wasn’t a real sonnet,” since the patterns of rhymes and syllables were correct but I changed the rhythm of the accents somewhat. But still—a sonnet. Unless … Continue reading

Frank Pahl: Creating with Sound

Frank Pahl: Creating with Sound

What makes sound? What makes music? If you’d like to explore these questions, and perhaps set your students on a summer quest, consider Frank Pahl. Frank Pahl is a Michigan musician and composer who works with automatic music, or music created using automatic instruments. Automatic instruments don’t require a human to directly operate them, like … Continue reading

In the Heights: Creatively

In the Heights: Creatively

I was a young adolescent when the Beatles first appeared on Ed Sullivan. Their music sounded from every treasured 45 rpm record (yes, actual records) and boys in school were suddenly send home from school for combing their inch-long hair forward in the dreaded “Beatles hairdo.” After that phenomenon, nothing much has compared, so there … Continue reading

With  Gratitude and Creativity

With Gratitude and Creativity

I was going to post a normal blog today—something about creative activities suited to the end-of-school-year days—but when the time came, it didn’t feel right. Today, in the U.S., it is Memorial Day, a day set aside to remember the men and women who died in service to their country. It brought back the aching … Continue reading

Planning a Garden, Creatively

Planning a Garden, Creatively

Finally, finally, it is gardening time in Michigan. After the long cold winter, I love seeing things become green again. On one side of our back yard, too tree-covered for anything but shade-loving plants, perennial hostas and ferns appear like springtime magic. Behind the house is a small woodlot, created by the city as a … Continue reading

Get Outside for Creative Science

Get Outside for Creative Science

Recently, I’ve been spending time with a four-year-old scientist. Her imagination and curiosity, combined with her mom’s dedication to presenting her with accurate information, has resulted in all manner of interesting conversations about insect body parts, endo- and exoskeletons, how my petunias might be feeling about being planted, and which fish could enjoy playing together. … Continue reading