aha! moments in learning & teaching

This morning I drove my son to school (should have walked/biked but we ran out of time).  It’s a short 4 minute drive and yet in those 4 minutes I taught my son a few things and he taught me something too.  🙂

I asked him what was “on” at school today and he said “nothing much” but then he told me excitedly that he had done a science class yesterday.  In this science class (grade 3) they were learning about Space; “you know, the earth and planets and stuff”.  I told him that I thought that was a fun topic to learn at school and the rest of the conversation kind of played out like this:

Mum: “So, does the earth revolve around the sun or does the sun revolve around the earth?”

Son: “I don’t know.  We haven’t learned that yet.”

Mum: “Ok, but just for fun what would you guess?”

Son: “The sun revolves around the earth?”

Mum: “Well, that’s what a lot of people thought for a very long time but we now know that the earth revolves around the sun.  So how long do you think it takes for the earth to revolve around the sun?”

Son: “one year?”  (cool guess dude!)

Mum: “yep and the earth spins and that’s how we get day & night and that’s why it’s day-time in Australia and night-time in Canada at the same time.”  (I then proceeded to use my left-hand as the sun and my right index finger was the earth spinning around the sun…….while driving!)

Son: “oh yeah, kind of like a spinning top moving slowly around the sun”  (aha! that is an awesome analogy and much simpler than my clumsy display with my hands!)


So, in the span of 4 minutes I got to learn about part of my son’s day at school yesterday, teach him some basics about the sun & the earth and then he taught me how to think about it in a simpler way by using an analogy.  Now that is a TRUE example of learning where we both learned from each other; and only in 4 minutes!  Awesome.  🙂

I have since done some quick online searches and it seems that this analogy is quite commonly used to explain this, obviously I must not have been listening in Physics class in high school….oops!

2 comments on “aha! moments in learning & teaching

  1. Ted Bailey says:

    Hi! In view of your postng (above) you may be interested in my book: ‘Aha! Teaching by Analogy’ by Trafford Publishing and easily available from Amazon etc, etc. I am an ex-universityt/college teacher in the UK. I spent some time in California and suspect the pic is of the Pacific … nice shot anyway


    Ted Bailey


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