This is a blog on practical work, but I’m still writing it.
Practical work in science and technology can be the vital connection between the natural world out there and the world of connected ideas inside a child’s mind. But we have to make that connection happen. Work with the hands is essential but children have to put the experience into their own words — it’s language that captures the concepts that come from practical work. Language we see in group talk, in talk to the class, in drawings to help the words, and in structured writing that we ask them to do.
Unless we hear their words (and see their pictures) we never really know what is in their minds. When they give us the correct answers in a test, we might be seeing only our own words coming back at us, not words that tell us what they really think.