Tuesday, February 12, 2008

The Kids in This Solar System

motion and stone
Originally uploaded by mygothlaundry
I taught two classes today. I haven't actually taught a class in about eight or nine years and I was kind of hoping that noone would figure out that I actually know how to do it ever again. But alas, the flu has hit our small staff at work hard and that is why there are 44 more third graders out there now who are slightly more confused about the solar system and the phases of the moon than they were before. I used to be an ART teacher, not a SCIENCE teacher! Still, it was fun, even though I was panicking last night and young M, who was supposed to be playing the part of a third grader, refused to do the hand motions for planet earth or sing the Io song.

I wasn't expecting tough questions, though, and I got them. I like to finish a lesson in two parts - first, with a quick wrap up of what we've learned and then with a free form question and answer period. The first group wanted to know all about black holes. I know very little about black holes, although I did mention that there aren't any in our solar system and that's a good thing. It was also a good thing that our time was up just as they were starting to inquire bloodthirstily as to whether black holes might suck them up and if so, how fast? The second group wanted to know if we were all made of stardust and how and when the universe was created. Huh. I have no idea, so I made several references to the periodic table of the elements, cribbed a little bit from 17th century natural science as interpreted by Neal Stephenson that I've been rereading (the Baroque Cycle trilogy) and hoped for the best. The problem with me teaching the solar system is that I've read way more science fiction than I have actual science and sometimes it gets a little confused in my head. I could, for example, have gone on a bit about tachyon bubbles, taking a wormhole for a shopping expedition to the bubble malls of Zirculon Beta and how much fun it is to ride a cloud manta through the great storms of Jupiter, but I had a feeling that I would have been straying from the curriculum a little. Pity, that.

The flu seems to be hitting everywhere hard and now I'm scared, even though I'm pretty much convinced that I already had it in December and thus I should be immune. I'm going to Charleston this weekend and I'm looking forward to it; I am not going to miss another weekend to illness this winter. No, uh uh, no way. It's Valentine's weekend! Yes, I used to hate Valentines Day and refuse to celebrate it but come on, that was before I got a real live boyfriend of my very own. It's my turn to gloat, okay? And I'm looking forward to it - yay, romance! Yay, all things pink and vaguely heart shaped! Yay, I put something awesome in the mail today!


Edgy Mama said...

Next time, call me. I have a third grader you can borrow.

zen said...

Happy sweet Valentine's day, Fliss! We love you.