According to visionary engineer, Ross Mitchell, 2+2=5. And as an engineer, he knows something about math.
I recently had the opportunity to learn more about Ross Mitchell and the Mitchell Odyssey Foundation (MOF). On November 3rd, math, science and technology teachers from all over BC gathered at Science World for the annual Odyssey Symposium. They shared stories and ideas for igniting the love of science for high school kids. Truly inspiring work by truly engaged teachers. Their teaching practices are enhanced by the MOF.
Ross Mitchell sees a direct correlation between a country’s economy and its intellectual capital. His goal is to attract kids to take senior level science courses at high school. To do this, he wants to make learning experiences for kids as meaningful, tactile and engaging as possible. As enjoyable for teens as Minecraft and Xbox.
Mitchell’s second goal is to inform kids of career options, provide role models and expose them to career possibilities in science and technology fields. The way he sees it, supporting the work of teachers and enabling the development of more engineers and scientists will drive our economy further.
Back to the math thing. When asked how to promote innovation in the field, Mitchell said that “innovation comes where DNA matches”. As a highly successful entrepreneur, he was talking about innovative high-tech companies – in the context of start-ups, acquisitions and mergers. And as a short-hand for how innovation works when you have a common mission, a shared purpose, he then said, “2 plus 2 equals 5”. When two or more “DNA-matching” entities get together, the resulting innovation is greater than either could accomplish on its own.
Like the innovation that happens when an arts teacher teams up with a biology teacher and the class learns about kelp through crochet, using exponential numbering calculations. Creativity meets science, with a little math along the way.
Like the innovation that happens when a science teacher teams up with the local resource industry to engage students in studies related to forestry and climate change. The “real world” view brings the lessons home.
Like the innovation that happens when regular classroom teachers, teacher-librarians and public libraries all work together to foster a culture of life-long learning and the joy of reading. The whole community benefits.
Two or three teachers from different disciplines working together to engage students in meaningful and integrated learning experiences. Or teachers and industry partners innovating to create life experiences that help kids discover new passions. Neither could spark that deep level of innovation individually.
That’s when 2+2=5. Magic happens.