November 3, 2011

Yes, I admit science is pretty awesome.'s been a while. I find it's hard to start because so much has happened and I don't want to write too much. Hmmm...where to begin? Here's a funny story from just a few days ago:

I attempted science in order to explain why winter days are short in Denmark, the setting of our story in class.
Me, holding a globe: ...and because the earth is tilted, we have seasons. Summer occurs when the northern hemisphere is tilted towards the sun. We get more sunlight and so it is warmer.
Student, who is my sun in this example: (opens hands wide, big smile on his face) Shine, shine, shine, let your light shine down on me!
Me: (walking around the 'sun')... and when the northern hemisphere is tilted away from the sun, we get less sunlight and that's called winter.
Sun student: It's summer in Australia mates!
Student #2: Why don't Australians fall off the earth?
Me: Well, that's because...
Student #3: How do clouds stay in the sky? Why don't they just float away like balloons? Do balloons go into space?
Student #4: It's all about the gravity. We stay on the earth because of gravity.
Me: Yes, and...
Student #3: Yeah? Well, what I really don't understand is if we're spinning all the time, why don't we feel it?
Student #5: Sometimes, when I spin around really fast, and then stop, I can feel the earth spinning!
Student #4: That's just dizziness bra.
Me: Exactly, and also...
Student #6: Ms. Labrie, did you know that if the earth stopped and started spinning the other way, we would all walk around backwards and talk backwards and wear our clothes backwards? I read that somewhere...that means it's true, right? Or we would all die. I think it said we would all die if the earth spun the other way.
Me: No, that's definitely not going to happen.

Science and I haven't always gotten along, but I love how it brings out the curiosity of my students and highlights the strange way their minds work. They have some EXCELLENT questions (though some border on the ridiculous) and if you look hard enough, you can see the evolution of human history. Explanation: adults who dared to ask these same questions (probably minus the balloon) and who had the courage to seek out the answers have helped us to understand how our wacky world works. My students go through this multi-thousand year history of thought and discovery in the space of 12 years, free of charge. We have so much knowledge at our fingertips, an ever growing supply that seems to quadruple every year, helping us to understand more and more of the answers to the why. That is a beauty of education my friends, right there. 
I really enjoy when I know the answer to the why, no matter how many times a student says it. Who knows what whys will remain a mystery or will finally have a definite answer in the days to come (unless of course the world ends next year, then, well, screw investing in the future, I'm going on a cruise).