Learning During a Pandemic: A Challenge-A-Day

By Carol Bier

This blog is updated daily - generally evening Pacific time

Week 60!

Day 1. Now that so many of us are vaccinated in California, and life seems to be resuming towards a new normalcy, I will terminate this blog this week, but hope that you will keep up your curiosity, continue to observe closely what is around you, and make inferences that you can then test against reality. Today's challenge: ask a question, and find a way to answer it, or define a course of action that may lead to answers. Hopefully, the process will lead to more questions.

Day 2. Observations - Look around you. Look closely. What do you notice right now that you never noticed before? Think about why you might never have noticed it.

Day 3. Pattern recognition - Observe carefully as you walk down the street or along a path. Watch what you are passing. Identify at least three patterns. What makes them patterns?

Day 4. Identify underlying assumptions - Read an editorial in today's newspaper. See if you can identify an underlying assumption (or more than one) of the author. If you overturn that assumption/s, would you come up with a different perspective?

Day 5. Consider alternatives - Identify a problem. Think about how you might solve it, and consider several different solutions. What might work best?

Weekend challenge: Recognize achievement - Think back over this past year or more during the pandemic. What can you identify as your own personal achievements? Enjoy learning - It's time to celebrate!

Additional weekend challenge: Send me suggestions and challenges at arsperspectiva@gmail.com

Week 59!

Day 1. Painting a picture - Paint a picture, if possible, using a computer paint program. But crayons, markers, or colored pencils will work just as well. Once you've finished it, paint it again changing all the colors. See what effect this exercise has on your perception of the subject of your painting.

Day 2. Ingenuity - The little helicopter NASA sent to Mars was called "Ingenuity." Why do you think they gave it this name? Scope out what's written about it and learn how it could take photographs of itself, and how its height could be measured. How do the scientists at NASA know that it landed on Mars?

NASA Science MARS Helicopter Tech Demo

Make your own test helicopter

Day 3. Biden's address to a joint session of Congress - Listen to President Biden's speech, and then listen to the Republican rebuttal, given by Senator Tim Scott (R-South Carolina). What resonated with you? Where do they seem to disagree? What do you disagree with? On what points do you agree? If you were giving the response instead of Sen. Scott, why points would you have made? Who was Biden speaking to? Who was Scott speaking to? [Hint: You may want to listen/watch analyses of several news organizations] 

President Joe Biden's speech to a joint session of Congress (28 April 2021) - YouTube

Senator Tim Scott (R-South Carolina) Response (28 April 2021) - YouTube

Day 4. Intimidation - What can you identify that makes you feel intimidated? What might you do to resist feelings of intimidation? Are you aware of intimidating others? What might you do to resist your own feelings of wanting (or needing) to intimidate others? Eleanor Roosevelt (one of my heroes) is associated with saying "Remember - No one can intimidate you without your consent." Think about this statement and whether or not you agree.

Day 5. Is the pandemic ending? Make a list of reasons you think this may be the case. Then make a list of reasons why you think this is not the case. Assess both lists, and figure out where you stand - is the pandemic ending?

Weekend challenge: I encourage you to develop a challenge and send it to me at arsperspectiva@gmail.com

Week 58!

Day 1. Blood - Draw a diagram of our blood, illustrating its four components, labeled.

Day 2. See weekend challenge below.

Day 3. See weekend challenge below.

Day 4. See weekend challenge below.

Day 5. See weekend challenge.

Weekend challenge: I missed most of this week, but here's a challenge for the whole week. It may take several searches for you to address this challenge. How does gasoline power a car? What is an internal combustion engine? Figure out a few search strategies to determine how this differs from how an electric car works. What about a hybrid? Check at least five websites and compare their offerings.

Week 57!

Day 1. Supreme Court Justices - President Biden has appointed a Bipartisan Commission to look into whether to expand the Supreme Court. Read the news article announcing his plans(link is external), and the Bloomberg news analysis of who's on the commission and why(link is external). As you read the articles, think about whether you think this is a partisan issue or not, and consider the reasons for your personal judgment.

President Biden to Sign Executive Order Creating The Presidential Commission on the Supreme Court of the United States (whitehouse.gov)(link is external)

Biden's Supreme Court Bipartisan Commission - Who's on It and Why Explained (Bloomberg News, 10 April 2021)(link is external)

Day 2. Ramadan foods - Read about the foods of Ramadan among Muslims from all over the world in the US. There are several short videos, too, offering different takes on traditional foods. Ramadan is a lunar month during which Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset, reflecting in solo and in community about the past, present and future through readings from the Qur'an. Which of the foods of Ramadan correlate with your personal tastes? How do you imagine they would taste after fasting from sunrise to sunset? Many Muslims break their fast with a date, and a glass of water, offering quick energy and rehydration. How would you want to break a fast?

 Iftar Potluck in Baltimore (Aramco Magazine, April 2021)(link is external)

Day 3. Sketch a family member. Do it four or five times, each time using fewer and fewer lines, while still attempting to capture aspects of your subject.

Day 4. Color wheel - A two-day challenge - Have you ever made a color wheel? Look up Complementary Colors in Wikipedia. Why are complementary colors different when you use different color theory models? What is the difference between the RGB, RYB, CMY models? Choose one to make your own chart, or color wheel. Use colored paper, or collage, pastels, crayons, markers or colored pencils. See if you can pick two complementary colors and work them into a consumable menu you prepare. 

Day 5. Color wheel - day 2. See above.

Weekend Challenge: Bridge traffic - Read this article(link is external) and make a list of each statistic stated regarding the many bridges of the San Francisco Bay Area. What patterns or generalities do they suggest? Consider how volume can be higher in the morning coming into the city, yet lower in the afternoon leaving the city. Once you've made your list, write out a series of questions that make you consider or question the data more critically.

Bay Area Traffic is Fully Back - and on One East Bay Bridge It's Worse Than Pre-Covid (SF News, 12 April 2021)(link is external)

Additional weekend challenge: Blood platelets - What are blood platelets? What is plasma? What are two other ingredients that make up our blood? What do each of the components do? How is this related to Covid-19?

For weeks 1-5, see https://www.leonardo.info/blog/2020/04/24/learning-during-a-pandemic-a-challenge-a-day

For weeks 6-7, see https://www.leonardo.info/blog/2020/04/29/learning-during-a-pandemic-a-challenge-a-day

For weeks 8-9, see https://www.leonardo.info/blog/2020/05/06/learning-during-a-pandemic-a-challenge-a-day

For weeks 10-12, see https://www.leonardo.info/blog/2020/06/03/learning-during-a-pandemic-challenge-a-day

For weeks 13-19, see https://www.leonardo.info/blog/2020/07/07/learning-during-a-pandemic-challenge-a-day

For weeks 20-25, see https://www.leonardo.info/blog/2020/08/25/learning-during-a-pandemic-challenge-a-day

For weeks 26-29, see https://www.leonardo.info/blog/2020/09/14/learning-during-a-pandemic-challenge-a-day

For weeks 30-33, https://www.leonardo.info/blog/2020/10/14/learning-during-a-pandemic-a-challenge-a-day

For weeks 34-38, https://www.leonardo.info/blog/2020/11/09/learning-during-a-pandemic-a-challenge-a-day

For weeks 39-43, https://www.leonardo.info/blog/2020/12/18/learning-during-a-pandemic-a-challenge-a-day

For weeks 44-48, https://www.leonardo.info/blog/2021/01/25/learning-during-a-pandemic-challenge-a-day

For weeks 49-56, https://www.leonardo.info/blog/2021/03/10/learning-during-a-pandemic-challenge-a-day

Thoughts?    Comments?    Questions?   Suggestions?   Email arsperspectiva@gmail.com

Berkeley, CA © Carol Bier, 2021

 Please circulate to whoever might benefit. Stay healthy!