Q is for Question

The 4th graders spend their year in the library learning about the Dewey Decimal System. We start at the 000’s and end at the 900’s. Some of the 10 major Dewey categories are difficult to understand. For example the students first learn that the Dewey system is reserved for non-fiction books. Yet one of the major categories is Social Sciences and includes fairy tales. If fairy tales are made up stories how can they be included in non-fiction? That is a very good question that the 4th graders will explore in a few months. This week and next week they will focus on the major Dewey category 100 also known as Philosophy and Psychology.

This is somewhat of a daunting lesson since even I find it difficult to understand these subjects of the mind. The first thing we did was read a Dewey 100’s poem.

Who am I, really, and then who are you?
What is for real? Is the sky truly blue?
Spooks, ghosts and witches-where do they fit?
Does my mind have strange powers? What’s the truth of it?
What’s right and what’s wrong? Can I reason it out?
Do my dreams hold the answers to what life’s about?
Who were the great thinkers, and what did they see?
Did they sometimes feel silly or sad, just like me?
To explore these great mysteries, to be wise and to know, The Dewey 100s are the place to go!

We then discussed the different subjects and books that can be found in this section. I can honestly say I have never had more fun talking to a class before. Your children are all great thinkers who understand that we all have different ways of thinking.

We also read a fun book titled Q is for Question by Tiffany Poirier.
It starts at A with ANSWERS
:”Searching for answers? Let’s begin! how are they found? Are they within…?”

It touches on mind boggling thoughts such as
“What is existence? Can you define it? Is there a boundary? What is outside it?”
“At the edge of space, if you poked your fist, could you scoop in your hand what doesn’t exist?”

It also has you think of slightly more concrete ideas such as
“What are your rights? Are rights equal for all? Which rights apply to an animal?”

And yet, it stays firmly in the realm of thoughts, ideas and beliefs…
“Is there a soul? Of what is it made? Who gets a soul? Do souls ever fade?”

While your children may not be quite ready for Plato’s The Republic and his idea of The Cave, they certainly are able to discuss and understand logic, free will, happiness and nature vs. nurture. Talk to them about it! You might be amazed at their own philosophical ideas!

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