Necessities of Life

December 02, 2010 - 9:00pm

In discussing the necessities of a habitat for an animal, I posed the following question to the class, "What are the necessities that people require?  Are food, water, shelter and space enough for us?"

In asking the question, I expected to get some answers that stated we need video games, TV's, computers, etc., so I prefaced the discussion by saying that I didn't want to hear any answers that included electronics. Once I set them free to discuss and make a list with their tables, I was very surprised where the conversations went. I heard students throwing around numerous ideas and debating with each other whether clothes, love, an education, and light were necessities. They bantered back and forth amongst their tables with four to six of their peers and didn't come to a consensus.

We came back together as a class and discussed the topic further. The first item discussed was clothes. One student stated, "I'd die of embarrassment if I had to walk around naked!" and many students agreed.  I then asked if they thought they would feel the same way if they grew up with everyone naked or wearing a limited amount of clothes. Many students realized that if they grew up that way and if everyone else were naked too, that it wouldn't be such a big deal. We even discussed how babies love to run around with little or no clothes on and that clothing doesn't become as important until we get a little older.

The conversation took an interesting turn when one group said that we "need" an education. I asked for clarification to see if they meant an education that you get in school. They quickly replied no and said, "You can learn how to live and cook and read from your families and friends. You don't need a school to do that, but you do need to be able to learn."  Some students pushed this further by stating that your parents take care of you, teach you and love you. This transformed our conversation into a debate about whether we need love to survive." Our conversation ended with a pretty telling list of necessities for a human habitat. In addition to food, water, shelter, and space, the list included love, an education, light, and trees!

Erika Lagrisola, 4A Teacher