The "Aha" Series: In Middle School, the Whole is Bigger than the Sum of Its Parts

This week, we asked Tschol Slade, our Middle School humanities teacher, to share a favorite story that illustrates a moment of joyful discovery when an idea really clicks and the “aha!” epiphany brings new life to learning.


Tschol’s Story

A recent example was at Model United Nations in March, when our middle schoolers got together with hundreds of other Montessori students from around the country. For many of them, it was the first time they’d spent a good amount of time with other Montessori kids, let alone so many of them. Many of them remarked on the similarities. They were like, “Wow—we problem-solve the same way, we work in teams the same way, we even form a circle and sit on the floor in the same way.”

In this setting, they really got a sense that the whole is bigger than the sum of its parts. They really understood how unique it is to be a Montessori student, and they felt part of a fellowship. Of course Model U.N. teaches so many other important lessons, but this was a profound one shared by us all.

[This post originally appeared in Rhythm & News, the Inly School newsletter, on May 15, 2009.]

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