Discovery and Progress Group Guide

Volume VII, Number I

Artwork by Caroline Hochman

What is the significance of exploring new frontiers? Democracy, borders, leadership, innovation — these are just a few of the aspects of Discovery and Progress that KidSpirit writers and artists investigate in this issue.

1. The path to progress often begins with a moment of realization, and Awesome Moments by Ammara Mohsin, Zeeshan Kwaku-Hassan, and Josh Seides reflect this expanded awareness. Ammara’s essay explores her feelings after visiting the border between Pakistan and India. She asks, "Are the borders that divide us more important than the thousand reasons that unite us?" Zeeshan writes about the afternoon he spent with teenage Nobel laureate, Malala Yousafzai. And Josh tells about the first day at his nonprofit, which he founded to teach senior citizens about technology. Read these pieces, and then set aside some time to free-write about a moment in your life when you realized something had to change, either in yourself or the world at large. Where were you? How did you feel? Did you take action? Did you feel differently afterward? How was your experience the same or different from the essays in this issue?

2. In the Big Question, the Ed Board asks: What is the role of ethics in the quest for discovery and progress? Gemma Laurence, a writer from Maine, describes her older brother’s decision to study astrophysics, and how her great aunt, a humanitarian, reacts. Gemma considers both sides of the question—the importance of spending resources on scientific progress and on helping those in need—and concludes, “The first step is being aware that there is always a tradeoff, and progress comes at a price.” What do you think about her conclusion? Do you feel that science outweighs humanitarian concerns or vice versa? Why?

3. In our Features section, Akash Mehta shares his experience meeting amazing teens from around the world in his article, “We Are Family: A Week with Global Teen Leaders.” Akash describes the various ways these kids are working for a better future. What contributions have you made or would you like to make? Make a list of five aspirations you have for your community or the greater world.

4. Dr. Marcelo Gleiser, KidSpirit’s PerSpectives columnist, is a theoretical physicist and award-winning author. His article, “The Mystery of The Universe,” is on how science helps us understand the universe. As he puts it, “Science is a way of making sense of the world. It is a narrative, a story in a way, that people have been creating for quite some time.” He says that we are surrounded by mystery and that science helps us to ask questions—not to know all the answers. What mysteries compel you? How do you grapple with the unknown? Do you write poetry or study chemistry, play music or interact with animals? Take a few minutes to describe how you connect with the mysteries of our universe.