Learning during a Pandemic - A Challenge-A-Day
Closing out Week 10! This blog is updated daily - usually each evening (Pacific time)
There are challenges I have endeavored to write for my grandchildren (14, 16, 17), geared to middle school/high school. The questions may have relevance beyond, and I've shared them as well with neighbors, friends, and relatives, encouraging them to be distributed to those who may find them challenging, engaging, and beneficial during these perilous times. I know some of the questions have been adapted for a 4-year old in Chicago, for a fifth-grade class in Oakland CA, working online, and for a college class in New Haven, as well as for several children who are being home-schooled during this hiatus of normalcy. Several adults have enjoyed them as well! Some of the challenges will work to generate dinner table conversations, too! We are all in this together!
Although numbered by week/day, the challenges may be used in no particular order (except those for which there is a sequential question). Each one is designed to take 1-2 hours; collectively, they are intended to be interdisciplinary, and to stimulate creative and critical thinking. Some require Internet research, or use of iPhone/Android or iPad. Kids may work together or separately, and they may call an adult or other friend for clarification or to discuss search strategies. Hints might be offered as a second step.
For weeks 1-5, see https://www.leonardo.info/blog/2020/04/24/learning-during-a-pandemic-a-challenge-a-day
For weeks 6-7, see https://www.leonardo.info/blog/2020/04/29/learning-during-a-pandemic-a-challenge-a-day
For weeks 8-9, see https://www.leonardo.info/blog/2020/05/06/learning-during-a-pandemic-a-challenge-a-day
For week 11, see https://www.leonardo.info/blog/2020/05/25/learning-during-a-pandemic-a-challenge-a-day
Thoughts? Comments? Questions? Suggestions? Email firstname.lastname@example.org
Berkeley, CA © Carol Bier, 2020 - Please circulate to whoever might benefit. Stay healthy!
Week 10 (!)
Day 1. What kinds of food might you grow at home? @Edibleschoolyard on Instagram suggested growing greens from the cut bottoms of carrots, turnips, green onions, etc. I'm trying a few. Might you be willing to try some, too?
Day 2. What are the so-called 'culture wars'? And how are they playing out now during this pandemic?
Here is an alternate challenge: Attempt to define 'culture.' What does it mean to you? What cultural values do you consider most important to you?
Day 3. 'Cytokine storm' - Cytokines are signalling proteins that facilitate communication among our body's cells regarding immunity and inflammation. But it is becoming apparent that sometimes they make mistakes and behave incorrectly. What is a 'cytokine storm' ? Read this article in New Scientist, and write an essay (three paragraphs) on why cytokine storms may be particularly relevant to Covid-19 deaths.
Day 4. Codependency - Do you know what this word means? If not, look it up. Then read these two articles, and write a brief essay (2-3 paragraphs) on prospective impacts on personal relationships that the isolation and sheltering-in-place during the Covid-19 pandemic may have on personal relationships. How has the pandemic affected your personal relationships?
Article by Sherry Gaba LCSW (August 2019) in Psychology Today, "Boundaries and the Dance of the Codependent: How to Love and Value Yourself in Your Relationship with Others"
A blog by Madison Epting (March 24, 2020) in The Medium, "A Codependent's Survival Guide through a Mandated Quarantine"
Day 5. Nature and art - Find several natural materials you can use for today's challenge (example: twigs, pebbles, shells, leaves). Assemble them in a pleasing way that somehow makes something meaningful - it can recall a memory, depict something, or just be beautiful. Record it digitally using your phone. Duplicate the image several times, and using the editing tools on your phone's app/s, adjust the colors in different ways. Which colors, and color combinations do you find most pleasing? Any that generate negative feelings? Think about how color relates to emotion and emotional well-being.
Send suggestions for additional challenges! Email me at email@example.com.
Weekend challenge: Muslims and Eid - Muslims festively celebrate the end of the month of Ramadan, during which they have fasted every day from sunrise to sunset. Normally, they would share in prayer, communal feasts, large gatherings and festivals. This year, across the globe, Eid will be hyperlocal, taking place in individual households. If you were a Muslim what do you imagine you would be doing to contain the spread of Covid-19? India, presently in lockdown, has the world's second largest population of Muslims. See what is recommended in the The Times of India:
Additional weekend challenge: Playing with gravity - Stand up and jump. Throw a ball up in the air and catch it on its way down. Think of other ways you might play with gravity. Make a list of ten ways that gravity affects your daily life. Write a brief essay on what gravity is, and how our understanding of it changed with Einstein's view of relativity.