Photo CC By- Alan Levine
Photo CC By- Alan Levine

Angela Zhang has a brilliant mind.  As I sat here viewing her video it dawned on me how brilliant her methods were.  Not only does she have a brilliant, scientific mind, but she also made some magnificent points on the subject of breaking down the unknown.  Far too often, we block out what we don’t understand.  The idea of facing something so complex is frightening.  But the truth is, that everything that is complex is also simple.  Every complex idea has multiple simple ideas building it into something complex.  If we can train ourselves to break down these complex ideas into smaller ideas that we understand, we can learn anything.  Granted, everybody is different, and everybody learns at different levels and paces, but if we try until we succeed, we can all accomplish the unknown.

In the classroom I believe that this can be an epidemic. If we can train our students to simplify what they don’t understand, they will be able to break situations down both in and out of school.  Not only does this benefit children by increasing their knowledge and learning habits, but it will also help them to become independent thinkers.  They will be able to solve problems on their own.  If we expect a lot of success from our students (with the understanding that some may succeed at all and others may succeed at very little) they will be driven to succeed.  If we expect our students to be able to learn and utilize problem solving skills, they will be able to take that skill and that attitude with them throughout their life.  And I know that many of us adults can honestly say that we would have wished we learned that at a young age.

The ability to break concepts down into a simpler and more understandable concept is something that not only benefits children.  As adults, many of us were probably never taught this (Speaking from personal experience of course). We are frequently terrified when thinking of a hard-to-understand concept and so we don’t continually learn new information.  If we could all learn to break down the unknown like Angela, we will expand our knowledge and be able to take that knowledge and teach others.

Truth be told, much of the human race takes their brains for granted.  Our brains need fed just like our bodies, and I believe that we should all adapt this “breaking down the unknown” method to help us learn.

Breaking Down the Unknown-


3 thoughts on “Breaking Down the Unknown

  1. I need to break down all this homework into simpler portions! I loved the TED talk, Angela Zhang is really smart. I agree with you that this concept is a good thing to teach in schools because I often believe students who are struggling have too much on their plate. Thanks for sharing!


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