Class: Literature & Composition I

Query: How might we modify an object to reveal its true meaning?

When the 9th grade reads August Wilson’s Piano Lesson, they explore themes of metaphor and value. The central object of Wilson’s play, a family heirloom piano, has taken on layers of meaning as it was used to buy the family into/out of slavery, its legs were carved with family figures, and it was “polished by the blood and tears” of generations. For some, this piano is no longer just a piano, but a symbol of the family’s heritage. For others, the piano is a valuable asset — and by selling it can become a financial boon for the family.

Students come to the makerspace with an object which, to anyone else, might look like any old thing, but to them, represents greater meaning. Students modify the form and function of these objects in order to reveal what they truly mean — and to explore their own personal understanding of metaphor in doing so.

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