EMinNM

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Sep 02 2011

Science RULES!

It was a half day today, which was strangely stressful, and we had about 20 minutes left at the end of the day when I was going to do vocabulary pages. So we were going over the meaning of the word native, which came up on our chapter test (even though my kids are Native, half of them got the answer wrong either because they think of themselves as Navajo, so the word native confuses them, or because they think of native as Native, meaning people, and so have a hard time applying it in other contexts such as plants). We talked about Native people, and then native plants, and then lots of examples of plants that are or are not native to New Mexico, like rubber plants. And thanks to the amazing curiosity, wonder, and excitement of my brilliant, questioning scientist students, talking about rubber plants led to Question Time About Almost Anything You Wonder, which, you might imagine, is quite a few things. Some gems from this afternoon:

“Ms. EMinNM, where are rubber plants native?”

“How do you get rubber out of the tree?”

“Could rubber plants grow in Hawaii?”

“Why is Hawaii all the way off to the side on the globe instead of below California like on a map?”

“I never knew Canada was on top of the United States! Is that true?”

“If Antarctica is on the bottom of the world, why doesn’t it fall off the planet?”

“How did the planets get into space, anyway?”

“How do you make an earthquake happen?”

“What does atmosphere mean?”

“If God’s in the sky, how come God doesn’t fall off the planet?”

“How did people get on the planet?”

And the best one, “Ms. EMinNM, where does God live?”

So those last three I sort of danced around with a lot of “Some people believe…” and “Science and different religions tell us different things…” and a little bit of flat out ignoring (which was possible because kids were oohing and aahing and asking eight billion questions at once, so I avoided that last one entirely). But it was AWESOME! There’s so much they want to know about the world and how it works, and they are riveted by my pretty basic explanations. The best part: they are totally fascinated by my models and showing the globe and drawing pictures, but they’re also trying so hard to understand my words, which is typically really difficult for my super-low-language-ability kiddos. They want to learn so many cool things! It’s awesome! And then we watched Bill Nye the Science Guy talk about planets while we ate corn dogs for lunch. Science rules!

2 Responses

  1. CJK

    This is such a great anecdote about how good teaching ignites curiosity and inspires learning!

    • Lee Berkowitz

      your kids maybe awesome but it is obvious that their teacher really rocks!!!

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