Questioning Rules

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(Earth Houses from the movie “Garbage Warrior”.)

Today we went on several field trips. Why can’t we go on more field trips at school; who cares how old we are? We like to get out and explore outside of a classroom.

One of the places we went was the Duke Smart House. This house has 10 students living in it, and it is an interactive living laboratory. The entire house is extremely eco-friendly, and it is designed in a way where it can be taken apart and redesigned easily. The students living there can actually take apart walls and ceilings and reprogram wires to test and experiment on the house.

This was a pretty cool thing to see, even if we weren’t there for very long. Plus, the entire idea for this interactive living space came from a student who stayed after he graduated to design and build it.

Then at night we watched a video about a guy who had ideas for houses that you could live in without needing anyone else. It made its own food, water, heating, cooling, and energy. However, the city ended up taking away his architecture license because he was breaking all sorts of laws with things you “have to have” in a house. (Basically the things listed above along with roads and some laws about owning the land.)

Eventually, after years of being denied at the state level, and working in other countries to build these houses out of plastic and glass bottles, tires packed with mud and clay, cans, wood and other natural materials, he was granted access to use an area of land as a test site for houses.

These are both great examples of what people can do if given room for failure and testing. Walking back from our last class time today one of my friends said, “The biggest thing I got out of that movie was questioning rules.”

I agree, and I don’t think this has to be on a legal level; what about school rules and norms? Why does society believe that certain things have to be done a certain way, and that is the only way?

What if there were no block schedules and “class periods”? What if subjects didn’t exists? What if school didn’t take place in just 1 building? What if students could change their school at a foundation level? What if teachers worked with students on projects? What if different ages worked together? What if grades didn’t mean anything? What if awards reflected impact?

What if we changed the notion of the word “school”?

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One thought on “Questioning Rules

  1. I do not know where we dropped the ball on field trips this year. The earth houses are interesting, last year we had MadHousers come to the school and we went to several of their sites in the city. You would be amazed at how and where people live.

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