One of the many opportunities our kids get to practice skills that will help them in the real world is by reaching out for an experience for their inquiry project. My student, Frankie, is interested in electric airplanes. I will be honest and say that I had never even thought about the possibility of an electric plane and whether or not they existed. This is one of my favorite parts about our inquiry projects is our kids teach us, the teachers and the parents, things we didn’t already know.
Frankie has researched electric planes on the internet, but we encourage and coach them so that they can speak to someone who is actually working in the field they are interested in. They write an email and reach out to as many people as they can and hope that they get one good solid response. I taught Frankie how to write an email that communicates what his interest is and what he hoped to learn from an experience with the professionals he is reaching out to. In this particular situation he wanted a better understanding of how electric planes work, the process behind the innovation of the electric airplane, and how they are going to change the carbon footprint of flights in the very near future.
I have to point out that Frankie is only 9 years old. He sent me a very impressive and long list of people to reach out to and I wasn’t sure that we would get one response from any of these companies. If we did get a response I assumed it might be directing us to their website or to other resources for him to gather information. However, I always encourage my kids to ask, even if you think the answer will be no because the answer can’t possibly be yes unless you ask.
We were thrilled when the CEO of Magnix, Roei Ganzarski, responded to Frankie’s request. We were all incredibly excited and Frankie worked really hard drafting high quality questions to get the most out of this rare opportunity. We reviewed and edited his questions together and he practiced them with me, with students in his cohort and then with students from one of our older cohorts. The effort Frankie put into this interview paid off. Not only was Roei Ganzarski a wealth of information but he extended a personal invitation to Frankie to tour their facility if he was ever in Washington.
What I don’t know if Roei Ganzarski realized at the time is that the hour that he took out of what I am sure is an incredibly busy schedule, could have ignited a spark in Frankie to do the impossible. Not only does Frankie know the value of asking for an opportunity, but he understands the value of studying math, science, and art, that you can create the impossible, and most importantly that you can make a difference if you are willing to focus and put the effort into what you are most passionate about.