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Annette Young Smith, along with her neighbors, transformed a littered patch of grass and weeds on a median strip in San Francisco's Bayview District into a lush neighborhood garden full of decorative and edible plants. Whether it's giant pumpkins or gorgeous orchids, people lavish attention upon these botanical marvels in the hopes of creating award-winning specimens.
Orchid enthusiasts Trudy Hadler and Ray Vickers-Traft divulge why they devote themselves to cultivating for competition. Would you drink from a water fountain fashioned from an actual (but unused!) toilet? Watch museum visitors experience the tension between reason and emotion while playing with this unusual Mind area exhibit, aptly named "Sip of Conflict." Size and scale can be difficult concepts to teach. TI staff educator Lori Lambertson talks us through one of her favorite activities, using one of her favorite dolls-Barbie. Students really struggle with the metric system. TI staff educator Lori Lambertson tells us how she helps students get a handle on what the units really mean. John Cage was one of the most influential composers in modern American music. He raised fundamental questions about the nature of music, and invigorated, provoked, and perplexed audiences throughout his long career. In this lecture from 1987, excerpts of his work are played and discussed. Afterwards, Cage takes questions and shares his thoughts on subjects ranging from the origins of his impulse to make music-"Many composers hear music before they write it, but I write music in order to hear it"-to using chance to create without ego or intention. He asks why we should listen to music instead of just listening to the sounds around us, and answers: "There's no reason."
Teaching isn't just work, it's a lot of fun. Staff physicist Thomas Humphrey quickly figured out that he didn't have the answer to every question in the classroom-and that's the fun of it. TI staff biologist Karen Kalumuck describes how she tries not to answer every question that's asked during a class. Instead, she guides her students to discover ideas for themselves.
A veteran teacher describes her first year of teaching-in Guatamala. She faced many, many challenges, but she stuck it out and has been teaching for 20 years. What is indigo anyway? Staff physicist Paul Doherty tells the story behind ROYGBIV, and how he'd like to change that standard palette.