Tuesday
Nov152016

Who? What? Where? When? Why?

The Nobel Prize and its Relevance to Learning

@ the Woods

Let’s face it.  Most of us know more about the Super Bowl Championship and the Academy Awards than we do about the Nobel Prize.  I was certainly in that category until I had the awesome opportunity to visit the Nobel Museum in Stockholm, Sweden. Since night comes early in Sweden in late October, my entrance into this beautiful 18th century building was enveloped in an oncoming fog and an unsettling early darkness.  The Square that fronts the Museum was quite deserted and I felt I heard the hooves of horses pulling carriages in a strange mix of IKEA and Dickens!

As my eyes adjusted to the interior lighting of the museum, I realized I was in for a wonderful learning experience and an unexpected personal and professional “aha”!  The Swedes really know how to blend the architecture of divergent centuries as well as the history and relevance of Nobel, the man and the award.  I walked a timeline of the award and met all the Laureates as their bios flowed overhead on an amazing cableway circulating at the roof level throughout the museum.  Modern technology allowed me to “talk” with Laureates and learn about their diverse lives and their own personal “ahas”.  My “quick” visit developed into hours as I visited and re-visited exhibit areas and slowly became a Nobel groupie!  I think the docents were ready to offer me a job or have me arrested as a museum stalker!  And, of course, I completed my visit at the Nobel bookstore purchasing books and literature that are now here for everyone at school to read, learn, and enjoy.  The seeds of an exciting new endeavor for the Woods were planted and I was already dreaming of what could be.

As with sports championships, theater awards, and other social recognitions of achievements existing in all countries, the Nobel Prizes are the only internationally recognized awards in any categories, much less in the areas of academic achievement and research, that improve the lives of the world’s inhabitants!  There is so much to learn at any age from Nobel, the man and the award.  And there is even more to learn as older students learn of the lives, trials, challenges, and successes of the Nobel Laureates.  And there is enough drama, mystery, and media gossip surrounding the annual awards to intrigue everyone, too!

I have spent almost a year researching and collecting materials for Wood Acres’ faculty to integrate into their teaching and student learning to elevate awareness of the Nobel Prizes and its timeless relevance to helping mankind solve problems and improve lives.

The results of this labor of love and learning is that each teacher, in age appropriate ways, will incorporate learning about Alfred Nobel and the Nobel Prizes into his/her teaching especially each December.  The annual Nobel Award Concert and Banquet are held each year in Stockholm on December 10.  As you can imagine it is a grand and royal event!   My hope is that in a few years we can incorporate our December WA Band concert into a Nobel concert format and have a most royal reception afterwards surrounded by a suspended poster display of present and past Nobel Laureates (created by our students of course) just like in the Stockholm Museum!  My creative juices are on high alert to all the possibilities!  We can turn this dream into a reality!  Good Morning America, here we come!  What an exquisite way to celebrate the highest levels of learning from an international global perspective.  WOW!!!

From making paper medals and talking about creatively solving problems in the Early School classes to critically assessing the ongoing relevance and politics of who gets nominated and who wins in the Upper School, our students will meet little known folks from unique backgrounds and global places who loved to learn, accepted challenge, met diversity head on and never gave up!

The Noble Prize for me now is much more that the facts, history, and stories that first caught my interest in Stockholm that foggy evening.  My learning has evolved to embrace the process, the people, and character that these men and women displayed that make this award worthy of our study, learning, admiration, and awe.  Noble Nobel for certain!

Judy Thigpen

www.nobelprize.org

 

 

 

 

« A New Year...A Fresh Clean Start! | Main | It’s here! Can you see it? Can you feel it? Can you hear it? »