In the Making: Thinking with Things

November 16, 2023


In the Making

“There’s a myth that learning only takes place within our heads. We know now that we think with our hands—and entire bodies—as we explore the world.”

On Thursday, November 16, 2023, we hosted a virtual conversation with Sarah Kuhn, author of Transforming Learning Through Tangible Instruction: The Case for Thinking With Things. She shared the evolution of her research and presented a rationale for bringing active learning with physical materials into teaching practices of all kinds, to build a more vibrant learning ecosystem.

As we’re well aware of here at NBSS, evidence across disciplines makes clear that people learn with their bodies as well as their brains. Collecting findings from cognitive science, educational neuroscience, learning theories, and beyond, Sarah’s research and concepts have profound implications for higher education faculty and administrators. Sarah explained how physical objects, hands-on making, active construction, and other elements of body and environment (like crocheting hyperbolic planes!) can enhance comprehension, memory, and individual and collaborative learning for students.

An educator, author, and thinker, Sarah is the Professor Emerita in the Department of Psychology at the University of Massachusetts Lowell. Before beginning her thirty-year teaching career, she received a Ph.D. in Urban Studies and Planning from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy and Social Psychology from Harvard University.

“In the Making” is a public programs series where we connect with a range of new voices, fields, and perspectives. Learn more and view a full list of events on the series homepage.

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