The more you know, the deeper conversations you can have. We've selected videos, articles, and books to help build knowledge and make connections. After all, true understanding isn't a closed room. It's a network of ideas that work together.


The Paradox of Value. Diamonds or water? A short introduction to how our context determines what we value. 

The Trade-offs of Building Green. A case study in the choices made when building a "green" home. Which matter most? Not the ones you think.

PS4 or XBox One? A humorous example of how narrow trade-offs can be (from sitcom The Big Bang Theory, Season 7, Episode 19, CBS.)


"Real Life Examples of Opportunity Cost." Every decision involves trade-offs. This economic primer explains the essential questions: how much do I value this? What am I giving up now to have this? What am I giving up in the future to have this now?

"The Mistake Smart People Make: Being in Motion vs. Taking Action." They sound similar, but they're not the same. On your Synthesis teams, what are you seeing? Motion? Or action?

"Effective vs. Efficient: What's the Difference?" Good teamwork takes both. But sometimes, one is more important than the other. Learn why, and which is which.

Book recommendations

Fiction: The Last Human by Lee Bacon.

In the future, robots have eliminated humans, and 12-year-old robot XR_935 is just fine with that. Without humans around, there is no war, no pollution, no crime. Every member of society has a purpose. Everything runs smoothly and efficiently. Until the day XR discovers something impossible: a human girl named Emma. This novel explores the trade-offs between morality and legality, friendship and duty.

Non-fiction: Become an App Inventor: The Official Guide from MIT, by Karen Lang and Selim Tezel.

What do you include (or not include) in an app? In this book, user-friendly code blocks that snap together allow beginners to quickly create working apps and evaluate their decisions. Readers will also learn about young inventors already using their own apps to make a difference in their communities, such as the girls from Moldova whose app helps alert residents when local well water is contaminated. Or the boys from Malden, Massachusetts, whose app lets users geotag potholes to alert city hall when repairs are needed.