After watching the post race reaction and commentary, I couldn't help but notice many parallels between the athletes and the my little scholars. Allow me to phrase it another way: the experiences that my grade 3's went through in their latest science unit were nearly identical to those of a professional race car driver. Sounds crazy hey? If you find this difficult to rationalize, I have provided some of the post race comments made by Takuma Sato along with his competitors and compared them alongside some classroom moments.
"I was really enjoying driving. I didn't want to finish the race because it felt so good." (Takuma Sato)
"I love building things Mr. M. Can I take some of the stuff home because I don't want to stop building. (Grade 3 Student)
"We as drivers have pushed them extremely hard. We push on each and every one of our race engineers that are with us each and every session." (Sato's team)
I too push my grade 3's to the limit. Coincidence?????? I think not! :)
" At times it would be easy for them to get down on themselves because of the things surrounding them, but I can't say I've seen them with a negative outlook on anything." (Sato's team)
My grade 3's faced countless moments of adversity as they went through the process of building, testing, failing before getting right back up again to decide on how to modify their designs. As difficult as it was at times, they were dedicated towards keeping a positive outlook on things.
"I made a mistake at the beginning of the race with Scott Dixon, and I'm sorry about that to him and his crew," (Sato's Competitor)
The pinnacle driving point of our science unit was that mistakes will happen..."A LOT"! What matters most is the steps you take to overcome the obstacles.
"Unfortunately in the pits I got sent out and made contact with Will Power's car. We had some communication issues as a team, but we're all learning to work together and things happen." (Sato's Competitor)
One of the greatest challenges that my grade 3's encountered was learning how to work as a team to accomplish a common task. Sato's competitor related to us, "we're all learning to work together and things happen". This goes to show that regardless of age and/or past success, team work is always in need of improvement as different minds are challenged to work in unison towards a common purpose.
"It's been 3 1/2 years to get here, but I always believed that I can win" (Sato) (Apparently last year, Sato was in first place during the final lap twice...and twice he crashed his car in the final lap just as he neared the finish line.
As one student stated, right after they shed some tears when their pillared structure collapsed, "Come on guys, let's regroup and focus. We can do this! 'X', get some Popsicle sticks. We need to brace the pillars!"
The similarities that I outlined are not limited solely to race car drivers. Rather, it spans an all-inclusive spectrum that embodies the likeness of sports, nearly all occupations and even personal relationships. Success and happiness in most areas of life is dependent upon your ability to overcome challenges, work with others and pushing yourself to the limit (aka. old fashion hard work). Ladies and gentlemen, this was far more than just a science unit; it was a lesson about life....and these kids drove the points all the way home in 5th gear!
Click here to access the newsletter.