Shrinky Dinks and “Phenomenon” teaching 

Posted by PSLE Dad on

I was with my jewelry maker friend, Ling, the other day discussing about her new online store "Felicity Findings". She showed me one of the product in her store, the "Shrink Plastics". The shrink plastic is the material for Shrinky Dinks, a toy invented in the 70s which amaze kids by shrinking down to 1/3 its original size when heated.

Credit: Shrinky Dinks

Ling used her super vintage toaster oven to perform the "magic".  

She asked me to draw whatever I like on a piece of shrink plastic while she heat up the oven. Once we were done, she stuck my master piece into the oven and wa-lah, my love for my younger boy can now sit on my palm.

Ling has conducted art workshops with the little ones and they were all so excited to see how their "little ponies" and "mickey mouse" shrunk down to 1/3 its original size which they can later wear as a charm.

But what does shrinky dinks got to do with PSLE. Erhmm... maybe one of the PSLE Science question will ask how density of the polystyrene plastic change as it shrink down to 1/3 of its size. Or a PSLE Math question may ask: what is the ratio of the area before and after shrinking if the diameter of the plastic is to shrink by 1/3.

Actually, PSLE did not come to my mind when I started writing this post. What struck me was an article I read around the same time about what the Finns are doing to their education system. They are transforming from subject based teaching to topic based teaching (a more "atas" term called phenomenon teaching). Follow the link below to read more.

So now they no more teach Math and Science. They teach like "working in a cafe" which has Math, Science, Language, and even communication skill all in. Just like a few years back when my US colleague told me that his children were doing home schooling and he was teaching them about "car".

So maybe shrink plastic selling in Ling's online store can also be used for phenomenon teaching as it is really quite phenomenal.

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