Urban BoatWorks: Creating a Mind of Curiosity

Week after week with the students in the boat shop, we are thinking about how to create and nurture minds that are curious.  It is not that we stop and write this down, but we do dream about how to get students to think further than they did when they came in the shop. 

Let's take looking at aline of a boat for example.  In boatbuilding, we ask, "Is it fair?"  Not in the sense of justice or beauty, but does the curved line look right?  Is your brain telling you that it looks good?  If your brain thinks it looks good,  then maybe it is fair.  The point is not necessarily an exact science, but did they think to come to that conclusion?  A simple yes or no answer is immediately followed by, "What tells you that?" which allows the student to share their observations and reasoning for the determination. 

Before students get to build boats and determine if lines are fair, we start with trips to interesting places like the Gazela, Philly's Tall Ship, and working with wood, seeing what we can make.

These adventures and hands-on experiences pique curiosity--we can see it in the students' eyes.  I invite you to take a look at these pictures and see the students' interest--look at their eyes.  These students are amazing.