Eighth Graders Stack Functions While Building a Stone Wall
The eighth graders from Orchard Valley Waldorf School came to our homestead to help build a stone retaining wall. The time they spent here at Lifecycling was full and productive. The morning started out with Bothmer exercises to get the body moving before heading indoors to explore the background to sustainability (carbon sequestration, throughput, etc.) along with some general physics principles such as momentum, inertia, potential energy, and kinetic energy.
Moving first thing in the morning stretches the muscles, gets the blood flowing and stimulates brain activity.
Dirt, from the ground where the stone wall was to be built, was shoveled into a wheel barrow and then maneuvered down a short hill, then up a small hill, where it was dumped on top of a future hoogle ( refer to Holistic Gardening and Landscaping). The physics lessons we explored at the beginning of the day related to the picking, shoveling and moving of the dirt. In other words, actually using the physics principles students learned in the classroom made moving dirt interesting, challenging and fun! Stones of all sizes were scattered around our homestead and these were hauled to the building site. Again, it was the principles of physics which were used in the hauling of the stones and moving them into position. Slowly the wall began to take shape.
Applied physics in action.
Moving the heavy rocks with a wagon and also using chains and a comelong and then fitting them into the wall like a puzzle.
At the end of each day we always had time for a game, usually a form of Ultimate Frisbee. This was the first time a group played on the new field we had created! When we first moved to this piece of land we thought that since this area was wet it looked like a great pond site. We dug several holes to see if they would fill with water but by July the whole area was dry so we decided it would make a better playing field. Additionally, several trees had fallen from a big snow storm so those were cut into logs, hewed into beams and used to build an addition on the yurt.
Over the years trees were cleared from the future Frisbee field and turned into beams by hewing the logs.
The hewed logs were used in the addition.
Slowly, over a few years, we continued to ad carbon in the form of wood chips from hewed logs, wood debris, leaves, saw dust and wood chips from a local mill and voila, a field was born. The eighth grade, in playing Frisbee, pushed the carbon from the wood products into the soil. Some of the water that once just ran off our property and down the hill will now stay on our property. At first the idea of playing on such a field was met with resistance but after the game started we were all lost in the fun.
Sequestering carbon sure can be fun.
If we are to overcome today’s challenges we need to learn about stacking functions. Each entity in a system should provide as many functions as possible. In this case we are talking about activities; however the concept is the same. The eighth graders primary goal was to build a retaining wall, however in the process they cleaned up rocks that were laying around and had to be moved, education was involved in learning the actual physics of moving heavy objects, they learned movement skills which incorporated momentum and inertia, they did preliminary gardening in building a hoogle bed which sequesters carbon, and lastly, in playing Frisbee they further developed the playing field. All throughout the day we had fun and laughter. If we are to exponentially heal the earth instead of exponentially destroying it, we need to do it in such a way that we all can enjoy what is being done along with enjoying each other and ...
singing and just having fun.