Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Introducing Youngsters to Critical Thinking

Since March is Women's History Month, my son's first grade class is learning about the contributions of famous women in history.

One of the projects the kids have to work on is to make a puppet of a famous woman. The project is due tomorrow.

Today I was thinking about which woman my son should make a puppet of. A bunch of names crossed my mind. Abigail Adams. Rosa Parks. Susan B. Anthony. But I wanted my son to do something more original. And then it occurred to me. I took my copy of Infidel off the book shelf, the cover of which features a photo of Ayaan Hirsi Ali, showed it to my son, and asked him, "Can you make a puppet of this woman? Her name is Ayaan Hirsi Ali."

"Yeah, sure!" my son replied enthusiastically. He asked if she was still alive, and I said that she was, but that there were some people who wanted to hurt her because they don't like the things she says. I thought it would be an interesting way to introduce kids to the idea that people can treat other people very badly because of religious beliefs. I will have to be careful though in how I explain it to my son, as he will have to say a few words to the class about her.

So, now I have to see what materials we have on hand or need to buy so that my son can make a good puppet of her. My son, by the way, loves to do arts and crafts. The walls of his room are plastered with drawings of Spider-Man and a lot of the villains and other superheroes. He is always drawing pictures or making things. After he saw the Star Wars movies, he started making light sabers, using up a lot of my computer paper in the process!

If the Ayaan Hirsi Ali puppet comes out good enough, maybe I will take a picture of it and post it here.


bullet said...

Wow. Please do.

Zeolite said...

Yay! I'm so happy to read your post. Little is more important than teaching critical thinking - it's a basic building block which sadly is missing from many children's educations.

I ranted in a post about the importance of teaching critical thinking and decreasing human suffering as the key to loosening the grip that religion has on our society.

Tommykey said...

Hi Zeolite and welcome! Thank you for your kind words.

Anonymous said...

Great idea about the Hirsi Ali puppet. Thanks for dropping by NYC-atheists, neighbor!

tina FCD said...

I would really like to see how the teacher reacts to the puppet. I wonder if the teacher even knows who the woman is. :)Can't wait to see pics.