Continuing the Conversation with Your Student
March Concept
Life’s problems are complex, but too often, we jump to easy conclusions—without critically evaluating how we arrived at them. This month, Synthesis sessions will focus on slowing that process down.
LEGO bricks, but for the brain.
When kids play with LEGO sets, their initial creations are by the book. After a while, their understanding of the connections allows them to build more imaginative structures. As it turns out, this process is bigger than blocks.
First principles and mental models.
For young people, creating mental models is not easy--it’s much easier to simply adopt existing ones and never ask questions. However, for our students to start thinking critically, they’ll need the opportunity to build knowledge frameworks from scratch using first principles. And just like building with LEGO bricks, the more they play with this concept, the more comprehensive their mental models will become.

At Synthesis this month, we’ll introduce your students to the process, and they’ll return to it organically in later months. At home, you can also reinforce this important habit through conversation.
Here are some of our favorites:
Five Whys
Kids love asking ‘Why?’ Parents, now it’s your turn. When your student has a conclusion, ask ‘Why’ a few times-- not to debate them, but to help them uncover and explain the first principles of their thinking.
Take it Apart
Take something apart and see how it works. What might each part do? Can we put it back together? This can be both a physical and mental deconstruction as you start to piece together what is essential and what is decoration.
Cooking from First Principles
Challenge your student to create a new version of their favorite meal from scratch and without a recipe. It’s great practice in knowledge-building. What do they know about the ingredients? What do they think they know? What are the right questions to ask? How can they “taste test” their assumptions?