What’s the word for when you’re learning about one topic, you need to learn about several other things to help you understand the main topic?
I’m learning a lot about birding. This means I also have to learn the names of local trees and plants so I can better understand what birds are in a certain habitat. And so I can tell people “the bird is in that oak tree.” AND so when people say “It flew into that privet bush” I know where to look.
But birders don’t just look for birds. We listen. I’ve been learning a lot of bird songs. I need to know not only what birds sing which songs, but what sounds aren’t bird songs.
So I also needed to learn the sounds that chipmunks, squirrels and frogs make – because they can make sounds that sound like birds.
Recently, I wrote a book about plastic pollution in the ocean. It’s called Ocean Plastics Problem and it’s part of the Max Axiom and the Super Scientists Series. I had to learn a lot about chemistry to be able to explain how plastic is made and why it’s such a problem in our oceans.
I had a similar experience trying to write my forthcoming book The Science and Technology of Leonardo da Vinci. In order to understand how he describes the way heart valves work so that I could explain it to young readers, I had to learn all about the physics of flowing water.
There’s got to be a word for the kind of chain-reaction learning, or connected learning, that comes with exploring a new topic. WHAT IS IT?? Do you know??