Why Opening the Door is One of the Most Important Things We Do

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Thinkery’s Open Door initiative allows access to children and families who may otherwise not be able to explore and learn. Your donation to Open Door creates invaluable experiences for tomorrow’s creative problem solvers. Below is a first hand story from two amazing teachers who brought their students to the Thinkery with the help of Open Door and your support.

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Written by Haylee Lavender and Rosalie Ip, teachers at J. Houston Elementary

Our experiences at the Thinkery have had a huge impact on our students. The opportunity to visit the Thinkery leaves a lasting impression on the students. Our students refer to the Thinkery as their favorite field trip of the year. The hands-on experiences, diverse activities and knowledgeable guides help make their trip meaningful, educational and memorable. Our students got the chance to rotate between a series of exhibits that focused on different educational standards and experiences.

In today’s educational systems, there aren’t as many opportunities for exploration and discovery. The Thinkery allowed for play and learning to intersect in a way that makes learning fun and engaging. We as teachers have the opportunity to connect what we’re teaching in the classroom to experiences our students will have at the Thinkery. Transference between learning and action can be challenging for students because of the restraints of the classroom, but the Thinkery provides a space to relate what we learn in the classroom with the real world. The Thinkery is an educational playground for purposeful adventures where students can experience trial and error in a liberating way. The challenges that students experience in the Thinkery environment teach them to overcome obstacles as part of the learning process.

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In the Light Lab, our students explored with the directionality of light sources and how this impacts the positioning of the shadow cast by the light source. We were about to introduce light energy in our classroom, and I was particularly interested in how the students would transfer the knowledge gained from this experience into our classrooms discussions about light energy.  At the Thinkery students were inquiring together, “I wonder what would happen if we changed the way the light was facing?” and “How do I get my shadow to look like that?” Through exploration and collaboration, our students were able to figure this out on their own. When we engaged in class conversations about light energy, the students connected their experiences with the content.

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In the Kitchen lab, our students felt like “real scientists” as they got to “waft” the test tubes and draw conclusions about the smells. It was refreshing to see the students excited about the experiments and eager to share their findings with each other. There were choruses of “Look at _____!” “This reminds me of….!” “Smell this!” as the students enthusiastically discussed their predictions.

Thanks to the Open Door Initiative, our students were excited from the moment they got on the bus. The students were given the opportunity to have an entire day dedicated to their learning and enriching their education. The students were also so grateful to have nourishing and tasty lunches that were beyond their normal sack lunches from the school cafeteria. This Initiative provided the funds for our students to gain an experience different from any other field trip they have had before.

– Contribution by Haylee Lavender and Rosalie Ip, teachers at J. Houston Elementary

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