This story about the lives of elevators in the New Yorker last week is fabulously written and reminded me of how a simple observation in the world “wow – a man was stuck in an elevator for 41 hours” can turn in to an in-depth inquiry. If I had been conducting this research, I would have incorporated more issues around labor regarding elevators (installation, technicians, operators, etc.) as well as some of the challenges various elevator workers have faced across time and in different parts of the country/world. Alas, it wasn’t my piece, so I found myself content with the incredibly engaging style of writing, the movement between technological information about elevators and the urinating man stuck inside one, and my own envisioning of the animal-like organs always at work inside the steel, wood, stucco, brick, and glass structures we have built around us.
Even kindergarteners can turn a simple observation into a lengthy inquiry…we just have to take the observation seriously and recognize the yet-unearthed understandings waiting to be created from it. Well, and also provide the space, time, and resources for allowing students to do such research;)