Inspired by Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 and Simon Sinek’s YouTube Video “Addiction to Technology is Ruining Lives,” our team, ninth graders at HTHCV explored the questions: How do we make friendships? How can we have interesting conversations? How does technology divide us? How can we use technology for the former instead of for the latter? How can we share the light we have and discover and appreciate the light in others? As we explored these questions, we realized we must consciously put away our phone and be present with the people who are with us. We interviewed three different communities near us: 1st graders, family members, and senior citizens from the senior living community near school. We discovered through this interview and creation process that every individual has a unique story and life, and if we listen to anyone long enough, everyone is a poet.We created lanterns that illuminated their lived experiences.
I loved that our students were able to talk to so many people about dreams, they interviewed senior citizens, elementary students, and community members. Each day we did Human Connection tasks to practice empathy. To honor their interviewees, students made lanterns that included parallel and series circuits and were able to integrate movement and light into the lantern design.The installations were very fun for me to see unfold since students were able to choose what they were creating and how they were creating it. I plan to do this project again and want to consider a more creative way to curate artist statements. I also love the act of gifting the lanterns back to the people who inspired them. Perhaps next year, we could get all of them in one place so we can do a performance and gifting ceremony for everyone who participated.
Fahrenheit 451 was a really interesting and unique book that I would have probably never read on my own. This book really did give me a new perspective on people and inspired some questions for the person who I got to interview. The human connection tasks also made me curious about humans and made me wonder about what other people had done or just thought about society. This project helped me interact with people that I didn’t even know, it made wonder more about them and it also made me be more sociable something I’m really not.