Summer SAVY 2022/Session 2 – Truth vs. Perception for Rising 5th/6th Grade
Thursday: Hello all! As we approach the end of the week, we are beginning to make bigger connections to each of the themes of previous days and also think about the ways that truth and perception can be used and/or distorted in both positive and negative ways. We began to follow the possibilities that mediums of communication have in our world “all the way down” in order to think about what the potential consequences can be. We continued from yesterday by creating our own interpretation of yesterdays reading (‘The Necklace) in a creative writing activity that we then presented to the class. We continued learning how to do close readings of texts and make inferences. We then applied these skills as we read “The Lottery,” a famous text with some very ethical challenges and implications that made us think about traditions, social knowledge, how truth becomes distorted, and where things can go wrong. We also applied our lesson from the past two days about techniques that are used to communicate in society, art, media, writing, etc. – such as color and symbol communication – to our reading.
In the next portion of the morning, we watched another very short clip from Mune and discussed myth and tradition, asking ourselves why we do the things we do and how shared knowledge is built in societies. We also thought about how messages and meanings are communicated through representations and added these ideas to our team concept maps from yesterday.
After lunch, we learned about marketing and propaganda. We looked at some famous posters and evaluated the techniques, structure, and methods of communication within them in a rhetorical analysis wheel handout. We learned about how messaging appeals to our ethos, logos, and pathos – new, deep vocabulary that is very important in the context of truth and perception! Tomorrow we will bring our week together, learn about animation and create our own messages, art, animation, and propaganda. We will have a guest speaker and then work on an exciting final project!
Wednesday: Hello everyone! Today we continued to expand our understanding of perception and how it is formed, how our perceptions motivate us and affect our behavior, and by what methods and mediums we communicate our perceptions of the world to each other. To start off the day, we had a mini-debate about optical vs. physical illusions. Throughout the rest of the day, we also worked on critical reading skills. We evaluated the motivation of Mercury in a Greek myth and did a close reading and critical analysis of the famous short story “The Necklace,” in which the main character struggles with the truth and consequence of her social perception and her desire to be perceived a certain way because of the alternate reality she imagines and desires. We also watched a short clip from the movie Mune while working in pairs on concept maps to analyze the way that color and imagination can be used as a method to communicate and appeal to our emotions and connect us. You may want to ask your budding philosopher/theorist/scientist/debater about what motivates our social perceptions and how different ways of communicating (color, music, scene, myth) impact us and the world around us!
Tuesday: The theme of today was about bending, changing, and interpreting perception. We started today with a mini-project to review yesterday’s lesson. Students had a choice of two projects: a comic strip style drawing or a creative short story. With each they had to create their own interpretive allegory with touchpoints that related to Plato’s Cave. Students then volunteered to present their stories to the class and explain how it related to the Cave and how or why it was different. We had hedgehogs stuck on the moon, a fish who gets liberated from his fishbowl and learns about the real nature of objects he previously misunderstood, and an astronaut who had been trapped in a space station his whole life returning to earth.
Later in the morning, we learned about how perception can be manipulated to show different types of realities. We studied optical illusions (is it a donkey or a seal? Perhaps your experiences in life influence which you see first!) and learned about the artistic work of M.C. Escher. Perhaps you could ask your student if the Escherian Stairwell is possible and if it is real or simply a trick of mediums and staging?
In the second half of the day, we had a guest speaker who is a Neuroscientist and a professional artist from New York named Kayla. She also happens to be my sister! She zoomed in with us to explain the science of sensory input and perception. She taught us the science behind how and why we see color and how color works. We learned about other properties of light and used prisms to change our point of view. Then Kayla demonstrated ways in which color can communicate emotion and carry messages and we thought about and looked at examples of how color can be used to express feelings in famous art works.
After lunch, we practiced it ourselves! Kayla showed us different watercolor painting techniques that create the illusion of texture or movement and we tried it out by making our own works of art!
Tomorrow we will discuss how perception can be manipulated and whether or not this is a good thing or if it can be harmful. We will also work on fun activities and create our own marketing campaigns!
Monday: The theme of today was’ Investigating Reality.’ We started out by getting to know each other’s names and favorite mediums as we thought about how we communicate our impressions and ideas about the world and what we use to communicate them. We discussed what a medium is and, as a method of communication and expression, what different mediums provide. We learned that this class has a range of students who connect to the following modes of expression: art, music, sports, magic tricks, poetry, creative writing, media, drawing, scientific discovery, research, and even test taking (yes, this can be a medium too!).
After we got to know each other a bit, we thought through some of the complications of truth, reality, and perception through a few classic philosophy thought experiments. We wondered and laughed about the idea of being brains in a vat, asked how we interpret the world around us scientifically, theoretically, and with others. We talked about how our perceptions are influenced by many things!
Later, we read about the philosopher Plato’s allegory (a term we learned and discussed today) of the cave. We dissected a difficult text and thought about symbols and how stories are also mediums for communicating about and investigating the world. Additionally, we practiced visual note taking, drawing, writing, and story analyzation.
Today was an introduction to some of the skills we will build over the week. We asked and answered a lot of questions that may seem simple but are actually very complex.
Tomorrow we will begin to investigate how perspective can be changed or used to convey emotion and messages. We will ‘treasure hunt’ through a few different optical illusions and famous works of art to discover what methods and techniques people use to communicate perspective.