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Ancient History of Glassmaking

In 2017 and 2018, I taught rotating groups of middle school students about the ancient origins of glassmaking at The Crucible in Oakland, CA. Each group of students watched and engaged with this 30 minute lecture/demo in which I talked about pre-human glass, hypotheses about the first human-made glass and how artisans went from coiling strands of glass to blowing bubbles into it. I demonstrated what some of the earliest glass forming processes might have looked like and ultimately posed the question, "how do you think someone discovered that glass could be inflated and what do you think the first blowpipe looked like?" This led to all sorts of interesting answers to a question not well understood by historians and challenged students to think about history as a series of questions and theories as opposed to a chronology of dates and names. This was one of the most fun education experiences I've had the pleasure of creating.

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