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Monday, 07 June 2010 16:17

One Fold Circle Outreach Project.

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Years ago when starting to fold circles and working with students, the question came up; “Why don’t we fold circles?” There is no simple answer, but it was clear we would benefit in ways yet outside our thinking by actually folding circles rather than just draw pictures of them. Children fill many pages drawing circles as they imitate writing, and draw representations of many things. We get older and are trained to draw circles in writing and with numbers; as an analogy for going nowhere (around in circles) and in some cases it is everything, most often the circle means nothing, zero. We continue to use the circle to store data, but favor bar code and pixel transfer of information. We accept the utility of circles for multiple mechanical advantages, and marvel at the beauty and perfection of circle forms and movement in nature. We are mystified by the appearance and meaning of crop circles. All mathematics is rooted deeply in the circle.

We cut the static image into parts for mathematical constructions, distort circles for topographical demonstrate of surface equivalents; always using only the idea and image of the circle. We do not have experience or directly dialogue with the circle to understand the nature and unity of what it is. We use the circle for everything except information.

Every child should be folding circles as much as drawing pictures of them. Because we do not fold circles does not mean it has no value. This is simple an ignorant intellectual position of condition that favors folding squares and making circle images. In realizing there is no in-depth information about circles, or folding them, I took it on as my job to explore and understand the nature of folding circles and give demonstration to its value.

I found much that was unexpected about the circle. First, the circle is the only form that can demonstrate the concept of the Whole (which we chose to ignore), while simultaneously functioning as a part across all disciplines. Second, it stimulates and requires stretching our mind beyond the conditional limitations we have accepted. Third, the circle is inclusive to the physical demonstration and development of fundamental patterned information that is not possible with any other method of modeling. In short, folding circles requires physical engagement in coordination that stimulates mind function and engages the spirit of human potential. I do not see this in any other materials or process in such an accessible, direct, principled, and comprehensive way.

Folding circles is a process with far more educational value than any tool we have constructed. This sounds ridiculous to say in an age of extraordinary technological development with such a focus on increasing simulation education. I make this claim from twenty years of folding circles. We have lost sight of a larger perspective about purpose in favor of proving ourselves above all else, even above what we do not understand. We don’t spend much time deeply contemplating things we discover, we are more interested in trying to figure out how to use these things for our own rewards.

From the beginning of this exploration I have envisioned folding circles as an integrated educational activity for all students. We have no idea of the difference this would have in the practical, purposeful, progressive, and meaningful effects of educating future generation

A year ago I decided to count the number of mathematical functions and concepts in the first fold of the circle in half. This was to tie curriculum based information required in formal education directly to folding circles, which would help teachers in making connections. This is not to illustrate math concepts and learn vocabulary, but to observe and discover what is inherent in the circle. More mathematical concepts continued to appear and now there are close to 150 individual math functions, all in one place at the same time, where nothing is added or taken away. This also seems like a ridiculous statement given that we accept learning bits and pieces spread out over a lot of years using many books.

Enable to see this information we must first fold the circle and observe what we are doing. Information is revealed in how we do things, not in the facts about what we have done. We train teachers to teach other peoples after-the-fact experience, thus robbing ourselves of our natural ability to observe and learn from our own experience. Folding circles provides a tool and supports a natural way of learning. This does not preclude guidance from those more knowledgeable in specific areas. The circle is not hierarchical nor favors those with more education. If you can fold it in half, the information is there for anyone that will spend the time.

People that teach teachers tend not to look beyond their own understanding of abstract prescription about math curriculum and how it “should” be taught. Even to achieve what is hoped for with greater benefit is not in their sights. The only way they will know there is an alternate approach to parts-to-whole education, is for someone to give them a Whole-to-parts process. Part of my job is to do that. Folding circles can not be rationally discarded just because we do not do it, or that we have never seriously thought about doing it.

I don’t know of any other way to get this information into the hands of people that teach the teachers that teach our children, other than just giving it to them so they may prove to themselves the worth by their own experience. They don’t have to pay anything, only to read a bit, make one fold in the circle and consider the possible benefits. I have twenty years of doing something that nobody else has felt important enough to do that tells me this is one educational approach we have not yet tried. This project is an effort to pass on some of this information to people that could find ways to meaningfully integrate folding circles into primary level curriculum. It is also a way that others can become involved in this effort of seeding information that will, during some future generation, take root and grow to be as common as grass on which to stretch out and observe the universe in ways yet unseen.

For more about this project go to: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1619831705/one-fold-circle-outreach

Thank you for your interest in Wholemovement.

 

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Bradford Hansen-Smith

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