FreedomOh what a pleasure
Not fulfill a duty,
Having a book to read
And not doing it!
To read is a bore,
To study is nothing.
The sun shines
The river flows, good or bad,
Without original edition.
And the breeze, that one,
Is so naturally matutinal,
As time has no hurry...
Books are papers painted with ink.
To study is a thing that is indistinct
The distinction between anything and nothing.
So much better, as there is fog,
To wait for King Sebastian,
Whether he comes or not!
Great is poetry, the kindness and the dances...
But the world's best are the children,
Flowers, music, the moonlight and the sun, who sins
Only when, instead of creating, dries.
More than that
It is Jesus Christ,
Who knew nothing about finance
And there is no evidence that he had a library...Fernando Pessoa, in 'Songbook' (Copy from http://www.wordsandquotes.com/poem/freedom-fernando-pessoa)
Before writing this post, I thought I had to speak about Pessoa, my favorite Portuguese Poet: so lucky me – The Poem Liberty
, talks about the freedom of having a book to read and just don’t do it, and about children! (And much, much more…). So, I couldn’t finish to read “I, Robot!”, from Asimov, (a little bit because I was lazy J!), but what I read, the first 4 Chapters, are enough to see it’s a great book for my youngest students, who are still a little bit children (like all of us!).
I have to confess the English version of the book, I bought last Wednesday, was not very easy to read for me, in a rapid way, so I had to take, to be fast, a PDF document, translated to Portuguese by a Brazilian (http://www.planonacionaldeleitura.gov.pt/clubedeleituras/upload/e_livros/clle000024.pdf)
As Literature is about language, I have to say that the written Portuguese, is very different, in Portugal and Brazil (I prefer the European written Portuguese…). The spoken Portuguese, is also very different (as all foreigners can hear
!), but, for me, Portuguese from Brazil is the most beautiful spoken language, it has so much musicality that Brazilian songs, written by great Brazilian Poets, can’t be unknown! (Our Portuguese Fado is very nice too!)
One of the activities I propose, for “I, robot!”, is precisely based on a video clip of Chico Buarque, a Brazilian singer (writer and composer!) of Freedom – João e Maria (“Hansel and Gretel”, a possible translation…). You can see, please, the video clip here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=596g2wg4uXQ
and an English translation of the lyrics here http://lyricstranslate.com/en/jo%C3%A3o-e-maria-hansel-and-gretel.html
. It’s a “Love Song”, but it’s written in “Childish Language”. It starts with “Now, I was the hero…”, a typical expression children use when they play pretending they are someone else…
So, the first Project Activity I propose would start with the reading of one
chapter of “I, robot”, in Portuguese Language, or English (students could practice their English…), exploited in the lessons of the Portuguese or English by the Language Teachers (“I, robot!” is included in our “National Plan of Reading”, to improve reading habits in our students). In Science Classes (namely Physics and Chemistry) students would exploit the scientific references of the story: for example, the text, from “Runaround” Chapter - “The robots started off, the regular thudding of their footsteps silent in the airlessness, for the nonmetallic fabric of the insosuits did not transmit sound. There was only a rhythmic vibration just below the border of actual hearing.” – it´s amazing to exploit a lot of acoustic concepts … And the book is full of other physics (astronomy) and chemistry references... Finally, with the help of Computer and Art Teachers, students would do a video clip, telling the story of the chapter they exploited, relating it, of course, with a scientific subject… To motivate for the “I, robot video clip”, students could get inspired too in “One Minute Physics” little “movies” – See, for example, this one “Guns in space” – not a one minute one, but very interesting when we talk about “I, robot”! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hYf6av21x5c
The other activity I propose, and I’ll try to do it with my 8 th grade students next time, it’s to use Lego Robots, to exploit Optics: “How Does a Robot see”, is the name I choose for the activity. To get motivated for robotics, students are invited to read the book, and, or, see the movie based on it (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/I,_Robot_(film)
) and after, they will do a little program for the Lego Robot to move, based on color sensors. In fact, I already asked some students to see the movie (they haven’t heard about it, but they get enthusiastic to watch it at home…), to try to involve them to start programing with Lego Robots. With this activity, I would like to initiate students (and me J!) in Programming and make them learn a little bit more about the physics of color sensors…
I tried to see the “I, robotics” movie myself and it was not available at my “home video club”, but, what I read of the Asimov Book was already enough to understand that it has a lot of potentiality to develop SETAM educational activities. As a Physics Teacher, I consider the 3 Asimov Laws of robotics, can be compared with the 3 Newton Laws, in a scientific way as they include, in my humble opinion, the bases of Programming Languages, as Newton Laws determine the Mechanics of robots… But, maybe more important, they can be exploited in an humanistic way to discuss our fictional existences, as our, great Poet, Fernando Pessoa, does with is heteronymous… As Fernando Pessoa was a bilingual poet (he lived part of his childhood in South Africa) I finish my post with an English Poem:How Many Masks Wear We
How many masks wear we, and undermasks,
Upon our countenance of soul, and when,
If for self-sport the soul itself unmasks,
Knows it the last mask off and the face plain?
The true mask feels no inside to the mask
But looks out of the mask by co-masked eyes.
Whatever consciousness begins the task
The task's accepted use to sleepness ties.
Like a child frighted by its mirrored faces,
Our souls, that children are, being thought-losing,
Foist otherness upon their seen grimaces
And get a whole world on their forgot causing;
And, when a thought would unmask our soul's masking,
Itself goes not unmasked to the unmasking.Fernando Pessoa, in 'English Poetry - 35 sonnets'