Float Your Boat…the ultimate outdoor classroom!
The Alden B. Dow Home and Studio and Herbert Henry Dow High School have launched an exciting new class partnership to help meet the goals for students in the International Baccalaureate (I.B.) class, Theory of Knowledge. Theory of Knowledge is a required course in the International Baccalaureate program that reflects the core educational philosophy for the diploma. The class teaches students to think critically, examine how knowledge is acquired, and to look at the interconnectedness of the knowledge areas: Mathematics, Natural Sciences, Experimental Sciences, History, the Arts, and Ethics.
Alden B. Dow, was an architect who explored his medium through the lens of all of these subject areas. Mr. Dow’s hope was that his structures would engage people to question the world around them, to ultimately improve it. He once said, “…to me the highest form of creative thinking not only conceives a solution, but actually initiates the problem or the motivation.” The Alden B. Dow Home and Studio is therefore the perfect setting for high school students to experience, question, and reflect in new and different ways.
Every Thursday afternoon, H.H. Dow high school students come to the Home and Studio to address the fundamental question “How do we know?” and to examine Alden Dow’s work through the various knowledge areas. Whether it is examining the mathematical complexity of his residence, or riding in a canoe out in the pond to explore how biology, chemistry and physics played a role in his structure, students are ultimately challenged to look and think critically at their own individual way of processing knowledge.
Incorporated into every session with the students are hands on examinations of the vast resources housed within the Home and Studio: original architectural drawings, 16 millimeter films, sketches from his early years, and some of the exceptional books he amassed such as Frank Lloyd Wright’s Wasmuth portfolio or the 1896, 10 volume set of Louis Prang’s lithographs of Chinese porcelains. As humans have different ways of taking in information, students may also learn through hands on experiences such as creating a house floor plan or writing exercises. Each week students are challenged in a setting vastly different from their typical classroom.
Alden Dow wrote in 1976, “…our unique abilities, when put together, naturally create something new…this is called creativity. The process of creativity involved conscious thought, subconscious feeling, plus the skill to put ideas together. Each of these activities has its own individualism. Creativity provides human expressions that can aid the progress and welfare of mankind. The products of creativity help satisfy man’s ever-increasing needs.” As this quote attests, Alden Dow continually examined his own thinking and encouraged others to reflect critically as well. This innovative and unique class partnership between Herbert Henry Dow High School and the Alden B. Dow Home and Studio is therefore the perfect synergy between the goals of the I.B. program and the forward thinking ideas of Michigan’s own Architect Laureate.
The Alden B. Dow Home and Studio works with numerous school systems, college and universities in developing and providing curriculum-based programming for students. This forward-thinking environment and the resources it houses, provides a stimulating and thought-provoking setting for a host of topic areas for all ages. With Education as a primary focus for the Home and Studio, programming for elementary schools, which begins at the 4th grade level, is free of charge. If you are interested in a programs or the development of a new program with the Home and Studio, please contact us at 989-839-2744.