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Friday, February 26, 2010

Science, Fair?

There are several things that will distract me in the classroom but, by far, the topmost irritant is the plastic water bottle that seems to populate every desk in every grade.

Now, it’s not the bottle itself or the kid sneaking an occasional drink during class that bothers me. It is kids playing with and making “crackling” noises during class that will get my unwelcome attention.

If I stop the lesson and laser sight the “bottle cracker”, he/she will eventually notice and will slowly remove it from the desktop, stashing it of sight.

If they are really into the bottle music thing and absolutely clueless to their surroundings, it takes the other kids at the table to prod the kid’s attention back to the front of the room where he/she discovers that I’m intently staring directly at them.

The bottle disappears.

So it was in a 2nd grade classroom yesterday that a tiny girl bottle cracker (aka: BC) got my attention. After asking that the bottle be put away, “BC” blurts: “But it’s my science fair spearmint!!”

I looked a bit more closely and saw that one bottle was 1/3 filled with dirt and some leaf bits on top. The other looked like it had about the same amount of cloudy water.

Me: That’s nice but let’s not play with the bottles during class, ok?
BC: It’s about worms!

Me: We’re supposed to be doing math right now. Maybe we’ll have time for science fair later.
BC: See! Worms live in wet dirt and eat leaves! Worms can’t live in just water by itself!

BC is undeterred and excited now as she approaches the desk with both bottles. She shows me the cloudy water bottle with five or maybe six worm parts floating on top.

Now I’ve lost control of what I was supposed to teach about math. Several kids come up for a viewing of worm carcasses in a bottle as BC proudly displays the cloudy bottle for each to see.

Now, it’s not my nature to be real intimidating to little kids. I would not allow a kid to interrupt the lesson like this if it was a 6th, 5th or even a 4th grade classroom. But at this point if the kids seem interested in “science” and even if they have to re-do skip counting as an introduction to multiplication tomorrow; I’m going to let them “off the leash” for a bit.

One of the boys is looking intently into the cloudy bottle and gets excited. “One of those worms is moving!” he announces to the rest. Now we have several little hands and heads trying to gain a look at the miracle of worm resurrection!

BC is confused and surprised as several other kids confirm the sighting of an un-drowned worm in the bottle. She looks intently into the bottle several seconds attempting to confirm the presence of the un-dead worm.

What happened next was surprising but not totally unexpected.

I don’t know if BC actually SAW the worm move or not but it’s a moot point as she snatched the bottle back and began violently shaking the bottle for several seconds.

BC: Ok, NOW they’re all dead!

Now, as I understand the process, science fair projects involve stating a theory, designing an experiment to test the hypothesis and doing the experiment to measure the results to prove or disprove the theory.

BC might not have a future as a “real” scientist but there might be something for her in climate scientology…

Now THIS would have been an interesting project to do for the science fair…

Is that "REAL iron" in iron fortified foods?


Darren said...

She will *not* be getting her PETA membership any time soon. In fact, maybe you should report her to PETA. THAT will teach the little tike to interrupt your instruction.

Sarah said...

I usually avoid the youngest grades myself, but after a day like today with 10th and 12th graders, I would have welcomed a few dead worms. Thanks for the laugh!

Theresa Milstein said...

Too funny. If the goal of the experiment was to show how to kill worm in a bottle, then the shaking of the bottle was totally appropriate.

Little kids are a trip. For me, it's either a trip to hell or an amusing trip. It depends on them, what I have to do with them, and my mood.

Mr. Nauton said...

love the dead worms! great blog...