The Power of Intelligent Materials
by Kimie Fukuda, Opal School Teacher Researcher
This story is from Kylee, who
was quiet, shy, and new to Opal. Until the point where this story begins, she had had very little voice in the
project that was unfolding in the classroom. However, on the day we
invited children into the blocks to share their theories about how a body heals
itself, I noticed a strong sense of agency. We had tapped into something that had provoked an incredible
desire for her to share her theory of anger and hurt – experiences she could
relate to. The materials allowed her to tap into her emotional
life, which, in turn, seemed to bring her to life. This was a voice we hadn’t heard before.
With a hint of urgency in her voice, Kylee began to explain her theory of
how anger is transformed in the body.
Kylee explained that when you are sad, the feeling in the mouth
(represented by the stones you
see below), travels from your mouth to your eyes like
If you are not too sad,
the sadness goes to your brain and talks to it, and sometimes it takes control
of the brain. But when you are
really, really mad, Kylee continued, it goes down to the stomach.
This is when Kylee really became animated as she
explained that there are towers of experiences that become piled and pressed
down by anger (the two red blocks in the center).
There is a good hammer, but it’s sleeping.
The smaller blocks that bridge the towers are all the things that you love like food, drinks, and happy memories.
But bad things (which are the rocks), the things that
you really hate, come up and smash the good things.
But, she paused only for a second before offering, there
are really more good things than bad.
it wakes up the good hammer.
What do you speculate is the relationship between the child, the materials, and the thinking?
What are you wondering?
What surprised you?