I was sure I heard a voice there…


The whispers all around

like saw grass

cutting and pulling

at the skin

until

mis-formed

it sloughs off.

Free

for a moment.

But the whispers

just the around the edges

there behind the busy buzzing hive

and with the

ladies drinking Champaign

you can hear it.

You can hear them.

In the hallway

the men stand around

arguing Brady vs. Montana

the Champaign glasses

whisper

sliding

you can hear it?

There in the moment

trapped between what was

and what could be

there.

You can hear it?

Or have tinny ears

quit this season

and left for home?

 

Sandler Boggs

Today is an amazing day. I can’t believe based on the beginning that the journey lasted this long.


The Happy Part of Today…

I am going to start with happy today. 17 years ago these two little travelers came to spend time with us. I can honestly say that their appearance and lives album001have changed ours so much for the better. I told my students 25 years ago about a pair of twins named Fred and Ed. The things the boys got into made for wonderful stories. Twins being a novelty and a rarity. Then Nick and Luke arrived. Luke first at 4:30 am plus or minus minute or so. Nick 10 minutes later at 4:40 am March 30th 1998. We had spent the previous 33 weeks convinced we were going to lose baby b (nick). It was a harrowing experience. Barb was on bed rest from the 14th week of the pregnancy.

They were both in the NICU of the hospital where they were born for the first two weeks of their lives. It was a frazzling experience to say the least  for all of us. Barb spent the first 10 days of their life with them in the hospital for the most part half exhausted, half elated. Jakki, Becca and I went to the hospital every day after school until they came home.

Joan and Jock Hussong our dear friends were asked to be the boys God Parents. Jock came to the NICU and recited the old English poem Beowulf to the boys from memory as he rocked and fed one of the boys. I remember walking into the corner of the NICU were they had album003the boys. There was always a funny smell. The Nurses would say its not us. Then one of the boys would let loose and we realized what the smell was. Oh the joys of formula based flatulence.

They grow up so fast. Here are they before a big event dressed up and ready to go. Nick has on what he called “his dancing shoes.” The deck behind them in Greenwood Indiana. We moved from Cincinnati back to Indiana to be closer to family when the boys were born. Barb had come home to be a stay at home parent about a year and a half before the boys were born. She wanted to be with Jakki as she grew up. I don’t blame her. I wanted to stay home as well but well at the time had a better income potential so I worked. These two little guys are the coolest little guys I’ve ever had a chance to be around. They blow Fred and Ed out of the water. First off because they have done m,any more things than I ever envisioned twins doing. Second because they are interesting, funny and in the end just a blast to be around. I can’t imagine the impact the two of them are going to have on the world. They are amazing young men and I am incredibly proud of both of them.

The Sad Part of Today

When the boys were in process of arriving the Doctor told us they would arrive in May. My mother told everyone that based on my arriving and ruining her 4th wedding anniversary that trend would continue and the boys would share her birthday in May. In the end they had different plans, which if you are ever around twins you will realize twins and different plans is actually de rigor. The boys arrived on March 30th 1998. That happened to be my father’s 63rd birthday. For 16 years we celebrated that common birthday. Today is the first one without dad. Dad would have been 80 years old.

Today is also the day my career took a detour that in the end was scary. More about that tomorrow when my year is officially over.

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Scott Andersen

IASA Fellow.

Of children sleeping (don’t WAKE THEM). Of mothers and daughters…


Sometimes the adult concept time and place don’t apply. Like when it is nap time. Nap time supersedes any other activity. I love that about kids. They run and album014run until suddenly they drop where they are and sleep. Adult rules don’t fit. The funny this is we have this same picture a few years later of the boys doing the same thing.

Jakki was too active to sleep in her high chair. When she was done she used to go over to the couch and lie down. We knew she was sick when Free Willy was popped into the VCR.

Anyway we should be really quiet and let this poor thing sleep. Obviously exhaustion waiting for mom to serve dinner. Thank goodness we haven’t found pictures of me doing this yet. Then my ability to take the low-road and make fun of everyone else would go away. That wouldn’t be fun for me.

Funny thing – the other day in a conversation someone asked me do you miss teaching. I said no right away. I don’t miss not making any money. But I do miss the wonder of kids. When a kid struggling to understand something suddenly gets it, there is magic in the air. I miss that.

The great tragedy we have in this country is that we don’t honor our teachers. In Thailand they call their teacher Adjan which means honored teacher.

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The bean and her stop taking my picture face. I think this one was of her doing homework. There was a time when the amount of time dedicated to homework was well less than optimal. Now she is a focused driving student trying to graduate. But for awhile that wasn’t the case.

Not sure what she was Queen of. By this time Francine had appeared on the scene and as far as I know Francine was always the queen. She (Francine) also often told Jakki that she in fact was the queen. It remains one of my favorite stories walking up to Jakki’s room and seeing the mess. It was mostly a mess from the time she was about 14 on. I walked over looked in and started to walk away. Fran looked at me, looked at the room and took two steps in. So I followed her not the messy room. Fran than to proceeded to point out all the hidden food in the room.

That happened a few more times until Jakki got smart and shared with Fran before she ratted her out. It drove Jakki nuts that her dog ratted her out so fast.

They had that kind of whose in charge now relationship.

I do so miss Fran.

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We end with a picture of that little girl in the chair all growed up. This is Barb in her 20’s a picture taken by her Mother Joan Ralstin.

As the picture above of Jakki was taken by her mother Barb Andersen. I think Barb wanted the picture I know Jakki had her don’t take my picture face on.

They actually have the same cheek bones and the same smile although you couldn’t tell in either of the first two pictures that in fact they have the same smile.

Pictures are funny in the end. They are of a single moment in time. A slice of a second. Immutable they stand and sit and lie forever in that moment. That moment never existed before nor will it ever exist again. It is a tale flat on a piece of paper of what someone at one second felt was worth capturing – now captured forever.

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Scott Andersen

IASA Fellow.

In the end it was not meant to be and I am over it.


Apparently my mother and sisters worry about the person on the right side of this picture. It is telling by the way the reality of the family history project. I album783was married once before my current marriage. The person on the right is my ex-wife Maureen. I have not seen nor heard from her in many years. In the end I don’t care that I don’t see or hear from her.

In fact the family history project revealed something to me. I took 786 pictures from the time I was born to the time I divorced Maureen. That is 28 years of my life. In that time I took 786 pictures. My father took roughly 12000 pictures in the same time period. Since I met and married Barb (now 25 years heading towards half my life) I have taken more than 70,000 pictures.

Mom I think that should answer the question. I am as they say over it, and I’ve moved on. I was never the person Maureen wanted to be with. In the end, she wasn’t the person I needed to be with, either.

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I do however miss this little person. Loch Nessa. What a great dog. She was mom’s dog and you knew it. From the minute she walked into the house and took charge. My father had a strange penchant for naming dogs really weird names Loch Nessa or Nessie as we called her being an HOA special.

In the best sense of full disclosure my daughter and I name dogs after literary characters and writers/poets we love so we aren’t any better.

Nessie didn’t like children much and she was around as the grandchildren began appearing at my parents house. Nessie was very prim and proper and expected things to be done a certain way. If you violated that way there was no rule against Nessie letting you know normally by nipping you. Never hard mind you or breaking the skin just enough to remind you that in the end she was in charge.

I do miss Loch Nessa.

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Image of my father – the grill master. Dad loved his full beard. He wavered back and forth with the beard or without the beard for many years. He was always the grill master. There were many holidays including winter months where dad would stand outside in the freezing cold and grill the most fantastic whatever he was grilling.

My dad was the best crown roast griller ever.

From embedding garlic into the meat to the spices he used it was always amazing. As was his salsa that he created by hand amazing. Dad was a good cook. He introduced me to a number of grilling techniques and food preparation tips over the years. Dad and mom together in the kitchen always fascinated me. They worked so well together on cooking projects. Dad cutting the vegetables that mom would use in something. The two of them a constant banter back and for the as they prepared whatever they were making.

Those were the days…

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Scott Andersen

IASA Fellow.

Wandering the edges of CSTEAM and using technology to make the world a better place.


My father was an educator for more than 40 years. He taught me how to read and hundreds of teachers how to teach science. Dad used to always say “be a life long learner.” It is not just wondering about the world around you but seeking answers to those questions you have that moves you. Finding out why things work, talking about concepts and ideas that in the end are critical components of what you are thinking.

I come to this today because I am wondering what my dad would think about a concept. My father embraced technology in his teaching career. He converted slides and projection plates to PowerPoint. He used the computer for communication and jotting down his many thoughts. He even converted the family letter about the our family heirloom the copper kettle from analog to digital.

Learning is a constant state. It evolves and grows with us. I look at the classrooms my children attend and things are certainly better in Maryland than they were in Indiana (as far as technology). I hear people pay lip service to STEM (STEAM and CSTEAM my choice). But taxes designed to fund schools are voted down time and time again. It makes me wonder.

People say all the time they want to improve the world. They want to use technology to make the world a better place. Change the world with technology! It’s a clarion cry I’ve heard before. The world has already been changed by the reality of technology. Its why you suddenly see the concept of a screen free vacation. No screens for a week. The screen free vacation makes technology the bad guy. That technology causes us to waste time. There is a great song by Peter Paul and Mary on their lifeline CD. They talk about getting a computer to save time but all they do now is spend time on the computer.

It is in effect a balance. But the people right in this country that need technology are teachers. They need the tools to make the educational experience better for small children. Interactive systems that let the children experience more motion and activity. I have argued for many years that kids need not only the day to day activities of school but they need to play various sports. Good, bad or horrible is the teachers problem. If the kids are less athletic modify the game so that it is still fun for those who can do, and fun for those who struggle to do. Many years ago while teaching Gym I used a variation of a baseball game I was introduced to. It was originally designed for lesser enabled people to play. I modified it so that it was fair to everyone and still fun. The oldest kids (I had a class with grades 1 to grades 7 in the class) became the captains and coaches. Helping the younger kids be successful. The younger kids were enabled because everyone else could only move a small amount. Those who could only hit the ball a little became home run hitters.Unless you had one of the youngest kids as your catcher then that strategy might not work for a home run.

The game was successful and by the end of the summer they kids wanted to play it every day (we didn’t). We, the class and I were a mix of students by grades and we had two activities we did every day. We did computers in the early morning and gym in the mid morning. By the end of the summer the kids could write solid preforming code in HyperCard and were masters at picking teams that were effective for the games we were playing. Using sports to create a team that valued each other allowed the disparate technology abilities to work together. There wasn’t any completive tension when people took longer to complete one thing, because that person might help you in the other things you were doing.

If you want to sue technology to change the world the best place you can start is funding not just the programs your kids attend but all educational programs that push technology forward.

Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (or STEM) was recently modified to include Art (STEAM) and I modified it one more time to including connection (CSTEAM). It is in the end a simple concept. Next time the property taxes in your area come up as a potential model for funding schools don’t vote with your short term pocket. We need to fund schools.

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Scott Andersen

IASA Fellow

Sean Thank you for being a friend!


My buddy Sean. The only man to be a best man at my weddings (sadly there were two of those. Can I erase the first one and pretend in the end it didn’t album690happen turn back time and all?)

Sean and I hung out, looked for nice girls and on Saturday nights we and a bunch of friends would go dancing. We were in the end both looking for nice people to settle down with and start families. Both Sean an I really wanted to have kids. My lovely wife was working at an event with Sean (her daughter was going to the school Sean was teaching at). During the event Barb asked Sean do you know any good guys. He said no, but there is always my roommate (me).

The next phase of Sean’s plan was inviting Barb to go dancing with us. There was something there although what it was you can never be sure. I had just broken up with a girl (we dated for about a month so it wasn’t serious. Well it was serious but she had gone through a nasty bitter divorce so in the end she couldn’t commit and I understand). Sean invited Barb over for dinner since I was planning on cooking that night. I hadn’t told him that I was also making reward chocolate chip cookies for my kids. So the kitchen was a mess when Barb got there. I was making potato soup and we started talking. She asked me about my ideal woman. I described what I thought was her based on Sean’s various descriptions. Barb looked at me and said “too bad Jesus isn’t a woman.” That was 25 years ago October 15th 1990. We were married within 8 months of that moment. But we’ve been together ever since that moment.

Sean and I shared a house for a few years. After I got divorced (My ex and Sean, as well as my ex and my dad didn’t get along – I should have TAKEN THAT AS A HUGE DANGER WARNING, DANGER WARNING sign). First we rented a house from a professor that we painted the interior of. We then got an apartment on 6th street in Bloomington Indiana. The apartment was 1/2 a house. The other half was occupied by college students who only cleaned when they moved out so the house was invested with Cockroaches and Mice. We had to have traps for each all over the apartment.

He and I used to play two on two basketball every Saturday and Sunday. We both worked at BDLC for a couple of years and at one point we actually had a streak of what we called “doing lunch” how far away from BDLC could we get in the 30 minutes we got for lunch. We would run out, get fast food and run back eating in the car on the way back.

Over the years he and I did a number of pranks. Both on each other and anyone that got in our way. Bob DeGrof whose photo I shared yesterday was involved in them as well. We didn’t involve Bob’s then wife and soon to be Ex-Wife as she didn’t have a sense of humor. She was also our boss although frankly she fit into my really bad boss category then and now is in the bottom 3 bosses all time.

It was however fun. For a time Sean was dating Ruth (nearly two years). Ruth was an interesting person. In the end it was not meant to be and they broke up. They met at a Single Divorced Remarried Catholics event (SDRC) in Bloomington. Sean and I used to go to those (Sean is Catholic by birth and practice) and dance. Sean loves to dance. He does the best Mick Jaeger impression.

We still try to see each other when I got back to Bloomington. Still friends all these years and now miles later.

Thank you for being a friend!

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Scott Andersen

IASA Fellow!

Jumbled memories of people, events and places….


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My class at one point many years ago loved magic. So we had a magician come in and entertain them. He did a great job although I am not sure he was prepared for the group we had. We ended up having more than 1/2 the school attend that day. He did a fantastic job.

I liked doing things then that were different. It gave the kids a chance to see the world from a slightly different angle. I was afforded that opportunity spending part of my early educational years in Thailand. I saw what poverty and bad conditions really were like.

My father always told me that educators open doors. That you have to find what intrigues the students so that you can introduce them not only to the other side of what they like, but what lies beyond what they like. Opening that door is the value educators bring.

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My friend and fellow teacher Bob DeGrof. He was the one that came up with the idea for Nando’s hideaway the picture and placard I shared earlier this week. Bob and I used to watch Cubs games and Bob often joined Sean and I when we played basketball.

Bob was an awesome dad and friend. His son Brian was the cutest. We had a lot of fun back in the day. Bob like me was married to a very difficult person. In the end we both moved on from bad relationships. I suspect it took the same toll on Bob that it took on me. He did however get Brian out of that process so in the end no matter what he walked away a richer man.

album333I just walked away. At least in the end we both got to better places.

This picture was taken in Afghanistan 1972. Kodak 110 camera. I have loved this picture that I took more than 40 years ago for many years. To me it symbolized the place I was visiting. Afghanistan in 1972 was a tough place. UNESCO was building the educational system in the country trying to make it a better place. The very system the Taliban destroyed some 25 years later.

It was a harsh land. Little water and other than the mountain pass (Kybar sp) it has not much. Our family friends were there (working for UNESCO as well) and we stopped there on our way home to the states. That visit and this picture has haunted me ever since. This is before the Russian invasion that was around 1975/78. Before the rise of the Taliban and the destruction of the reclining Buddha’s yet without a doubt this picture showed what we’ve been fighting over for most of the last 100 years.

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Scott Andersen

IASA Fellow

Of cars, computers and Hamlet’s ghost…


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My first home office and my Apple Iic computer. I wrote my first book (unsold) on that computer.  I also wrote my first sold (poem and short story) on AppleWriter and my Apple Iic computer. This is a picture of my initial home office many years ago.

The desk and filing cabinet were crammed into the corner of the apartment I shared. The printer off to the right was the ImageWriter from Apple. I moved to the Apple LaserWriter computer a few years later. But the initial stuff I did was with the old ImageWriter printer. It even had a replaceable module so you could use it as a scanner. I think considering the family history project with that scanner would have made my kids quit.

19000 images scanned in less than a year.

A few of my old pictures were stark black and white. Probably because the film was a lot cheaper. In the end it just looks cool.

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Chronology of cars went Volkswagen Beetle (yellow), Olds 98 (blue with 8 track tape and AM radio), Ford Escort (with Am and Fm radio) Ford Escort Diesel (with a tape player!) and then last car I bought while living in Bloomington Indiana a Ford Tempo (blue, am/fm and tape).

Why a picture of the front of that first Escort I will never know. The pictures I took back then weren’t very good. I had a very low end film based point and shoot camera. So there weren’t a lot of photographic nuances available. Still a car is hardly an interesting subject. I have a few pictures of the various cars I owned.

Once I had a car with a tape player there was no looking back. My friend Sean and I would ride around Bloomington playing the song “Money for nothing” at full volume. I used to back in those days listen to WTTS out of Bloomington Indiana because they had Trivia contests. I am proud to say I won so many of those contests that they implemented a “Scott” you can only win once a month rule.

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We end this day with Hamlet’s castle the castle that inspired Shakespeare to write the play. Again the camera quality probably doesn’t stand the test of time. I bet dad has some pictures in the slide collection or his photos that in the end are much better.

Kodak 110 camera. I loved that camera. I took pictures to document our trip home from Thailand. That trip changed me in many ways. Some good and some bad. The one thing it left me with was an understanding of the value of education and the value of the Peace Corps. Thailand was one of the first countries the Peace Corp worked with. You could tell the country was leaps and bounds ahead by the time we were living there and having been back all these many years later it has become an unbelievable place.

Thailand and the Thais I know remain so very deep in my heart. I love that country. It is without a doubt the most majestic and beautiful place to visit and to live. It would seem strange now however to go without my father. As much as I love Thailand he loved it more. He was alive there in ways that were hard for him after he retired from Indiana University. He was filled with a sense of purpose and a sense of being needed in Thailand.

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Scott Andersen

IASA Fellow.

Once more to hear “you are like your father…”


Like father like son. When you are 5 years old that sounds magical to you. I am like my father you think and you are proud. I am like my father. Then time album367changes everything. Sure you think your dad is pretty cool until you are about 13. At 13 someone says you are like your dad and you hear and add a just to it. You are JUST like your dad. This just brings rebellion. I am not like my father. That continues for many years. For some until they are 25 (like me) years old. I am not like my father. At 30 you think wow what would dad have done. As your children grow you call dad and you ask him advice (what about this dad?) For me the song that best describes my father is Dan Fogelberg’s “Leader of the Band.” By 35 I realized what a special guy my father was. It comes from this picture here of the Little Mermaid. Yes I posted the same picture before. One taken with a Pentax Camera by my father. But his one was taken by a Kodak 110 camera and was taken by me. Standing next to my father it is virtually the same picture he took.

That’s how I feel about my dad now. I wish he were still here to ask questions of. He always had a smart aleck reply but his advice got me to where I am. His gentle means of sculpting souls took me years to understand. So like when I was five years old and someone says you are just like your father I beam. I am like my father. Now however I look for things that he did and ways that he said things in my own life because I miss him now.

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Another gentle soul that not only influenced my life but for many years made it better. Aunt Phoebe Kuma was a Newfoundland. She lived with us on Dunstan Drive in Bloomington Indiana where this picture was taken. She was the most amazing dog. Phoebe joined us after MacGregor died. MacGregor was dad’s dog. He lived for dad. He loved dad so much he refused to die. Dad was away on a trip, Macgregor was dying of Leukemia. I remember the bet coming to our house and saying he was going to die that night. Dad wasn’t coming home for three more nights. MacGregor didn’t move for three days but he stayed alive. And when dad came home he struggled to his feet to greet dad. So much love in one place I cried for two days. MacGregor wasn’t going to die until dad came home. So he could say goodbye to the human he loved more than anything on earth.

We got Phoebe about a year later. She was definitely a family dog. She had a unique relationship with each of us. But my little sister Barb was her baby. She would for the next 7 years except when we were in Thailand never let Barb do anything, ever that Phoebe wasn’t supervising.

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Our house on Dunstan Drive again with the Kodak camera so not the greatest picture. I don’t have the photographic eye my daughter has or my father had. My pictures are more oops that one came out rather than wow what a great photographer.

We lived in this house after two years or so in Bloomington. Our first place was in Graduate Student housing and it was called Hoosier Courts. It was really just converted World War II Barracks moved from either Atterbury or Fort Benjamin Harrison to the campus and used as housing. They were torn down later and left as a field for many years. We then moved to the fancy Tulip Tree. It was an apartment building for graduate students and foreign national students. Dunstan Drive was our first house in Bloomington It was in the kitchen of Dunstan drive that my parents asked my sister and I what we really wanted. They at the time hoping we would say a little sister or brother. I responded with the family legendary statement “I want a puppy.” After telling us we were having a little brother or sister they asked again aren’t you excited and I responded “No I still want a puppy” or something like that. Certainly now I wouldn’t trade my little sister for a puppy but back then it was probably 50/50.

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Scott Andersen

IASA Fellow.

What my father taught me about being a teacher, science and in the end how to live your life.


Today’s blog focuses on pictures that were taken during my teaching career. They are of events and activities that I had the opportunity to be a part of while album186a teacher. My father taught me that education through science is the easiest way to accomplish the goal of having students learn. The natural curiosity that all children have is encouraged by the scientific method. I was never the teacher my father was. I couldn’t and didn’t last 40 years as a professional educator. But for a time I followed his footsteps and walked well behind the giant’s path.

This first image is from the Children’s Museum in Indianapolis Indiana. The floors devoted to the wonder of the universe, set at children’s levels. Here in this image the parabolic reflector speak softly into the circle and the person on the other end of the room by the other reflector can hear you. But why fall prey to that when instead you simply turn and shout. That’s what the kids did turn and shout. We went to the Children’s Museum a number of times as a class. It was a phenomenal place to experience science, history and do so in a safe place where we could wander around without worrying.

Dad taught me to ask questions.

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Science in the end doesn’t care if you are male or female. It doesn’t care if you are transgender, or for that matter any other lifestyle you choose. It only cares about the questions you ask. It asks that once you ask the question you consider not the answer but instead the proper way to get there.

It opens doors for children. As a teacher I remember the day dad asked me to read a book he had been asked to review called “A Nation At Risk.” A book filled with the what and why of educational struggled in our country. My father got his doctorate in Education at Indiana University. He did so on an NSF grant in part. My mother worked long hours as a nurse while dad finished his degree. He got his doctorate in one year. It was also in the time post sputnik when the United States was rushing people into sciences. We were behind in a race and we didn’t want to lose. Science gives us the tools to consider the questions we have. It doesn’t in the end give us the answers unless we seek them. Science is a way to reach children that puts them not only in a safe place for them but encourages them to ask the questions that come to them. Children want answers to the world around them. They want to know why things happen.

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Dad always said how can you figure it out on your own? What can you do to solve the problem in front of you. He taught me how to create solutions for problems I had with the tools and processes at hand. Sure sometimes in the end our solution wasn’t elegant or grand but it was our solution. We then could solve that problem again and again because we had a repeatable process to achieve results.

Dad called it the Inquiry Model.

I called it asking questions. Or using as he so hated it being called “Science Magic” in a summer class on computers I taught the kids more using Dinosaurs and building a Apple HyperCard stack we called Dinosaurs than I ever could have teaching them straight C programming. I had kids aged 7-12 in the class. Too broad a range to teach effective c programming. But the older kids loved making the noises Dinosaurs made. The little kids loved scanning and carefully placing the Dinosaurs on the page. All of them loved researching how dinosaurs and designing ways to figure out could they or would they do something.

Dad taught me to ask questions. The fun he would say “was in finding the answers.”

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Scott Andersen

IASA Fellow.