The dunk tank works using basic physics; hit the target with enough force and Dr. Yares goes for a swim. A few of our students at the Rib Burn Off had the skill and power to hit the target and dunk me into the tank. Most, however, tried but missed the target all three times. One enterprising 1st grader decided that there had to be a better way to get me wet and walked up to the target, pushed on it and I plunged in to the cold water.
She may not have had the most orthodox approach to the dunk tank, but she certainly still managed to get me wet (a point which she proceeded to share with everyone at the Rib Burn Off)! She saw a problem and, realizing that she could not achieve her goal through traditional means, determined an alternative path to success.
Problem-solving involves a combination of creativity and critical thinking, and often collaboration and communication, since most problems require working with others. These are skills that we want Schechter students to use as they approach each problem in their lives, much like this particular 1st grader did.
It doesn’t matter if the problem is understanding a tefillah (prayer) or a complicated word problem, the same skills come into play time and time again. We want our education program and each child’s experience at school to promote these skills, so that when they are faced with a challenge, like “how do I get Dr. Yares wet?”, that they are able to look beyond the surface solution to a path that gets them where they want to be.
Dr. Ari Yares