Learning for a Purpose

Humans always want to understand the Universe around them. They tend to find the most simplistic explanations of physics and chemistry fundamentals and explain them to others around them.

There are many ways to learn new things. It would help if you remembered to hear, comprehend, think, speak, read, and write — usually in that order. This essential learning happens before we are six or seven years of age.

After that - it's all open. We should follow our guts and learn to take things apart. How does a clock keep time? Let's take one apart and put it back together. How does a car work? Let's take one from the junkyard and fix it. Instead, we "learn the basics" first. We learn without the purpose of that knowledge. I firmly believe that the learning experience is better if there is a purpose behind it.

Think about building a rocket. For Young Solvers, start with a simple design, a balloon - blow it up and let it fly around the room. Move on to the straw paper rocket. Then to the baking soda rocket. Along the way, we can teach the scientific method. Encourage your Young Solver to create a chart of how much force you are imparting to the rocket and how far it lands. Launching at what angle makes it go far horizontally? You are learning a bunch of physics and chemistry along the way. Young Solvers are not learning action and reaction are opposite and equal, but they are innately comprehending it. Watch them apply it the next time they throw a ball or play soccer.

You can start and teach Newton's laws of motion without a purpose and talk about it all day. Or you can show it and help Young Solvers understand it in a way that they'll comprehend it innately.

Humans fundamentally learn by observing the Universe around them. Presenting new knowledge without a sense of purpose as to why they are learning it is a recipe for a "boring lecture." You can teach someone the C language. Or you can teach that same person how to build a storage system for their application in a hobby that interests them. You'll see them apply their knowledge of their pursuit into compelling data structures. I never understood why programming classes in colleges are in front of a blackboard, and lab time is separate. That is how you get a group of developers who can pass an exam but cannot holistically approach a software requirement and solve for that.

The purpose always matters.

© 2023 Kunjan Shah • Crafted with ❤️ by Solvative