Thursday, April 14, 2011

Passive Research

In his DVD Circle, Eddie Izzard talks about doing passive research. "The easier version where you let the research come to you." I've been thinking about this a lot lately because my son is doing research for a school project. The project is pretty cool. Each student picks a state, then they come up with a drawing and a paragraph about something in that state for each letter of the alphabet. He's used the Internet to look things up before, but this is a little more in depth.

I told Cam that I would help him with the search because he wasn't sure how to find what he was looking for. He told me that he was typing Michigan into Google and it brought back so much stuff that he couldn't sift through it all. I explained to him how he could add more words to narrow his search. He ended up typing "Things in Michigan that start with letter E". Four or Five links down the page he found an A-Z website that gave him a ton of new ideas, which was great. So he writes down his ideas and he'll be able to come back to them this weekend when he writes up his paragraph and adds his drawing.

He's doing a good job with this project, and I'm pretty sure his 'I don't know how to use the search engine' bit was legitimate, but there have been lots of time where he's performing "passive research".

"Daaaaad? how do you spell ridiculous?"
"Isn't that one of your spelling words?"
"Yeah but I don't want to look it up" (by which he means 'turn the page over'. That's right, the answers are on the back)

Does that exchange sound familiar to anyone else? I just need to remember that he's not being lazy, he's doing passive research. On the bright side he is in a good spot to finish up his ABC pages in  May.

Anyone else have a good Passive Research story?

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