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Discussing What Doesn’t Make Sense

September 30, 2013

Today in inquiry, our goal was to discuss what didn’t make sense. And in discussing what didn’t make sense, we made a lot of progress towards making sense of things. Here are a few quotes from today’s daily sheets.

“Another thing that didn’t make sense is why there is an image at all. This isn’t even a question I had before–I never even really considered it.”

“I understand ____’s idea about _____, but I am not quite convinced that this is correct.”

“I do not understand how all of the “required rays” to make the picture end up going through the hole. It seems too ‘lucky’.”

“I do not understand how the whole image gets through… where are the boundaries? Is it here? here? Somewhere rays from the very top can’t make it down? Where does that happen?”

“Everything made sense, but also, none of the ideas we discussed are thought through enough, at least not in my head, to decide which is right.”

“I know that a bigger hole makes it blurry, but I’m questioning why it wouldn’t be more clear with more light getting through with more colored rays”

“It was the questions we asked today that made it finally start to come together. ”

There are several reasons why talking about what doesn’t make sense works: It invites people into the conversation that might not contribute otherwise. It sets a tone of discourse around uncertainty, problematizing, and genuine understanding.

But I think, a strong factor is this one. Once people voice their concerns about what doesn’t make sense, those concerns can then function as criteria for evaluating the strength of any proposed explanation. When someone says they have an idea, we can all judge the quality of the explanation in terms of whether or not it addresses the concerns, questions, and issues that have been raised. This, in turn, is what makes our collective activity scientific.

 

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