The Private Eye - looking closely and thinking by analogy with jeweler's loupes and inquiry method for hands-on interdisciplinary science, art, writing, math, and more







What is The Private Eye?



The Private Eye is a program about the drama and wonder of looking closely at the world, thinking by analogy, changing scale and theorizing. Designed to develop critical thinking skills, creativity and scientific literacy - across subjects - it's based on a simple set of  tools that produce "gifted" results.

Hands on, investigative, The Private Eye - using everyday objects, a jeweler's loupe, and simple questions - accelerates science, writing, art, math and social studies, as well as vocational and technological education.

Whether you enter The Private Eye on your own using The Private Eye guide and jeweler's loupes, or whether you opt to attend a Private Eye workshop - you'll discover that it builds communication, problem solving, and concentration skills. For K-16 through life, all levels, The Private Eye develops "the interdisciplinary mind."

Student using a jeweler's loupe with Private Eye inquiry process

Student using a jeweler's loupe with the
Private Eye inquriy process

Thumbnail sketch of the tools and process: The aim of The Private Eye is to bring out the gifted in everyone: to bring out the scientist, writer, artist, mathematician and social scientist. The Private Eye is built around the use of a jeweler's loupe, a series of questions, and everyday objects.  With the creation of The Private Eye, Kerry Ruef pioneered the use of jeweler's loupes in education.

The jeweler's loupe is a magical magnification tool, quite different from and superior to a hand lens in its use and effect. It helps strip a thing of its stereotyped image so that real discovery, real thinking can begin.

The second "magnification tool" is a pair of questions; as you loupe-look at your own fingerprint, or a piece of popcorn or a flower or a spider you'll ask these questions to evoke thinking by analogy, the main tool of the scientist, poet, visual artist, inventor, humorist, teacher, preacher, and more. These analogies, written (in the compressed form of metaphors and similes), become the bones-for-poems, essays, short stories - and become the foundation for hypothesizing, theorizing, for answering the question: "Why is it like that?"

The Private Eye is a year round tool, just as pencil, paper (or a computer) and thinking are year-round, life-long tools.

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