Today, I tried to move our class toward building “consensus statements” about how light gets from one place to another. I had referred our activity as trying to come up with “rules for light” That move didn’t go quite as well as it has in the past, and I was really struggling to understand why. From the daily sheets, I found this gem where a student describes what didn’t make sense to them:
Rules of light. Can there be any rules? What if light is an “outlaw” defying all rules placed on it? Does light really adhere to a strict set of rules? This is what is not making sense to me.
I love this. It’s like she was saying, “What right do we have to expect that nature could possibly be held accountable to a set of rules? Let alone rules that we come up with? Who would enforce these rules?”
* OK, so the truth is, this epistemological isn’t why the activity didn’t go well. It didn’t go well, because students were still really struggling in trying to understand a set of observations that had been made and some confusing, complex, difficult ideas that had been presented to explain those observations. I moved us on to rules too quickly, before it made sense to do so. Either way, this student quote speaks to an issue I think is interesting, complex, and worthy of my attention.