Help students celebrate one another’s birthdays, teaches geometric shapes, radial design and symmetry, and ties into an inspiring poem which can lead to discussion.
Middle-school through high-school age youth
Step 1 Identify each student’s birth month and stone
Step 3 Teach students to use a ruler, compass, triangle, protractor and graph paper to draw some of the most popular gem cuts including cuts like princess, cushion, emerald, step, trillion, table, heart, rectangular, round, brilliant, radiant, rose and so on.
Step 4 Read Poem (below):
Step 5 Have students discuss the significance of this poem for them. What are their strengths that make their lives rich? How are our differences also our strengths? Like the cutting of a gem stone, what life experiences have shaped and polished you to allow your greatness to shine? For our high school students, this project also often leads to discussions around horoscopes, astrology, astronomy, color, and flowers representing each month, crystal healing, the placebo effect. It has also led to more serious discussions of environmental and child labor effects of mining, synthetic lab created stones, and my favorite- birthday cake preferences!
In a world where more and more seems to be expected of us, I often share my desire to ask questions that help co-workers and students tap into their “super powers”, which for me is the stories we tell about ourselves and how adversity has shaped us to be more beautiful. This poem from “Call Me By My True Names” The Collected Poems of Thich Nhat Hanh is one of my favorites and does just that – it taps us into our limitless beauty with a moment of mindfulness.
In addition to using this poem while teaching the drawing of our students’ birth stones, we have used this poem to open walking meditation which includes nature walks for students, leaf collecting for printmaking in playgrounds, and drawing trees and birds in neighborhood parks where we often also bring different stones and discuss and teach geology.