September 2, 2009

Observe the World

The view from my front porch, from the fires.

Today Mr. Science Teacher talked about observation. The discussion lasted all period long, and we were told that seeing and observing were two totally different things. He asked this question: do you see, or do you observe?

We copied down examples-- questions like how many steps there are on the stairs in the front of the school (15), and what color is his coffee cup (silver with black writing). Other notes included what an observation is versus an inference. We stopped taking notes there but continued with a class conversation.

Mr. Science Teacher asked a question-- how many of you go about your day seeing, but not observing?

Some people in the class mumbled out words that sounded a lot like "I do", while others just sat there and thought. He said that most people just go about their day seeing things rather than observing them and really looking closely.

He asked if any of us if we had seen a scratch on one of the poles next to his room. Most of us shook our head no, and he proposed a challenge to us.

He told us all, "I would like it if you all went about your day and instead of seeing, observe. And who knows? You might see something you did not notice before."

I left the classroom on a mission, to notice something I didn't. While in The Math Teacher's classroom for lunch, I noticed our mountains. They were clouded with smoke, and they looked overcast. However, I noticed something among them.

There was a mountain there that I had never noticed. The Science teacher was right, when you actually open your eyes and look all around you-- you notice so much more.

Try it, just for one day.
I dare you.


[ P . t ] said...

very true and its something that EVERYONE takes for granted - 'do you see, or do you observe?'

I'll take you on with this dare.. :)

accidentally, kle said...

what a great post! i've noticed that as i've grown older i tend to see things yet not really SEE them more and more. i hate it because as a child i was extremely observant and nothing quite went by me. i think i'll take your challenge - i need it :)

James, Tamara, and Andrew said...

Great lesson, Mr. Science Teacher. Great picture,'s beautiful, even knowing it's from extremely destructive wildfires. How close are they to you?

Tamara @ Watching the Grass Grow

Lee said...

Wow... that actually sounds like a neat science teacher.

Have you looked at the moon recently? It's orange because of the smoke.

natalie said...

There are things like that that I've never noticed before either, even though they've been there for forever. Take, for instance, a light switch in my old house. I had gone my entire life not even realizing that it existed, until the day we were moving. Now I'm on a mission to observe and not just see too! :D

Cat said...

...Your Mr. Science Teacher is a LOT different than my Mr. Science Teacher. :)
Haha, that comment totally misses the point of the post. Really good post, though.

abhi said...

Ai , its a very nice click!!

De Lly Dilettante said...

I love the photo!

Lee said...

Yeah, my art teacher talked about that. It might sound cocky or something...but for the most part, I actually do go through my day observing things. I mean, you can never observe everything, but I do do a lot of observing.

It really is amazing at what you notice when you pay heavy attention.