Facts and figures: Mr. Kennedy on research and knowledge


Maddie Browne, Feature Editor

Energetic math teacher, Model UN advisor, and…outer space expert? Thomas Kennedy is many things, but boring is not a word in his vocabulary.
“The asteroid belt contains three asteroids that have more mass than the rest of the asteroid belt, which is mostly dust,” Kennedy said. “You’d get really unlucky and you’d get hit with a fast-moving dust particle, or you’d be fine.”
Tidbits of fascinating information—such as the aforementioned three asteroids—are an integral part of warm-ups for each class. Kennedy, who has ADD, often discovers such facts purely by accident.
“ADD motivates me more because I don’t get as bored looking at one thing,” Kennedy said. “Oftentimes these episodes start in Wikipedia, and then I click on the sources at the bottom. I’ll start wandering around and find this YouTube video that explains something I don’t understand.”
These “episodes” often result in additions to the warm-ups. Consequently, these beginning-of-class brainteasers test both intelligence and knowledge, which Kennedy clearly differentiates between.
“Intelligence is the ability to figure out puzzles, and knowledge is the amount of stuff in your brain. Intelligence helps with knowledge, and knowledge helps with intelligence, but they’re separate,” Kennedy said.
Both skills are valuable in the real world; for example, a cashier requires knowledge of the products and their locations in the store, whereas an engineer requires unlimited problem-solving abilities in searching for a solution. But if he had to choose between the two? Intelligence, without a doubt.
“I prefer to be intelligent because it feels like I can learn anything, so it opens my knowledge doors,” Kennedy said.
Kennedy supplements both his knowledge and intelligence with various media sources, including (but not limited to) several political commentators, comedians, news sources, and statistical websites.
“I read a lot. I listen to a fair number of podcasts on YouTube and other stuff like that,” Kennedy said. “I sometimes listen to Joe Rogan’s podcasts when he has good content. Both Drudge Report and the website 538 are very good for politics.”
As both an educator and a citizen of the US, Kennedy maintains that continuous exposure to new information is very valuable.
“Always be curious,” Kennedy said. “If you want to know the answer to something, look because you can find it almost anywhere. I mean, why would you not? Don’t limit yourself.”